Things To Do While Self-Isolating in Chicago: Part 2 — Play the “Check, Please” Drinking Game

With tens of millions of Americans suddenly forced to work from home, to stay at home, and to confront the general cleanliness of their homes; this seems like a good time to discuss things to do while self-isolated in Chicago. We bring you this series as people with some experience in this arena, having worked from home for ten years in a 475-square-foot apartment in downtown Chicago with a wife and a cat.

Part 2 of ?: Play the “Check, Please” Drinking Game

Even though psychologists say that in times of crisis, it’s a bad idea to binge watch TV shows, that Friends box set your mom got you for Christmas three years ago isn’t going to watch itself.

But before you put on your I’ll-wash-them-next-week-I-promise sweat pants and snuggle up to the tub of Original Rainbow Cone you hide from your husband in the back of the freezer “for emergencies,” consider something local. And boozy. 

WTTW, Chicago’s largest public television station (you remember PBS, right?) has a metric ass-ton of quality Chicago programming available to stream for free. 

One of the deepest libraries is for a show called Check, Please. It involves getting three Windy City randos together to nosh at each other’s favorite eateries and then dish about why they’re awesome, and very occasionally, why they suck. 

Alpanaed: /’al • pan • əd/ verb: To be unable to visit your favorite neighborhood restaurant because it was featured on Check, Please and now there’s a line out the door.
(Photo via WTTW.)

The idea was born in Chicago, and exported to a number of other cities (Suck it, San Francisco), where it has become mildly popular, in a public television kind of way. 

No neighborhood joint is safe. Check, Please will find you. And it will rate you.

But while Chicago has a large enough and interesting enough dining scene to support eighteen seasons of this show, the program reveals that the average Chicagoan lacks a vocabulary large enough to keep themselves out of the weeds. 

It turns out that you can use intellectual blandness of the average Chicagoan as the basis of a stupid drinking game.  It’s just like the Game of Thrones drinking game, or the Windy City Live drinking game, but without all the bloodshed.

Here’s the rules:

  • Episode hosted by Alpana Singh: Drink
  • Episode hosted by Catherine De Orio: Drink twice
  • Episode hosted by Amanda Puck: Drink an Old Style
  • Restaurant is in Logan Square: Drink
  • Restaurant is a taco joint: Drink
  • Restaurant features “street tacos:” Drink
  • Restaurant is in Logan Square and features street tacos: Chug
  • Suburban white chick “discovers” Thai food, thinks she’s the only one: Drink
  • Waiter has to address the camera because the chef doesn’t speak English: Toast the chef
  • Panelist thinks Hyde Park and the University of Chicago are representative of the city’s south side: Drink
  • Restaurant is inside Chicago and south of 63rd Street:  Don’t bother drinking, as this never happens
  • Nobody knows the correct pronunciation of the restaurant’s name: Gerti
  • Panelist has an occupation you’ve never heard of and think might be made up: Drink
  • Everyone laughs nervously when a woman talks about wine the way she would talk about a husband, if she still had one: Drink a box of Franzia and cry
  • City-dweller moans about having to go out to the ‘burbs to try another panelist’s restaurant: Drink
  • Suburbanite complains about parking in the city: Drink
  • Bit of fluff from Iowa thinks her vocal fry sounds sophisticated and doesn’t realize it’s a diagnosable speech defect: Driiiink
  • Someone compares the food to their grandmother’s cooking, as if the canned ingredients and carcinogenic cooking practices of yesteryear are something to be celebrated: Drink
  • Panelists tries to make the racial mix of the people dining in the restaurant an issue: Pour one out for common sense
  • Restaurant described as a “hidden gem”: Don’t drink, or you’ll end up in an alcohol coma
  • One of the food pictures you posted on social media is shown during the Instagram segment: You win!

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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