Woody’s Winter Warmup 2019

I was invited once again to be a “celebrity” bartender at the Wood Family Foundation’s annual fundraising event.  I’ve never had to actually serve a drink at one of these, so I experienced some trepidation when I drew first shift at the main bar.  Figured I’d lean heavily on the actual bartenders employed by Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch at Water Tower Place.  The first patron ordered a Bud Light and I grabbed one out of the fridge.  I asked the legit bartender where the bottle opener was and he said, “Let me help you out.”  He proceeded to twist off the cap.  I felt dumb for a sec, but handed the bottle to the guy waiting.  The next order was an ice water.  Nailed that one.  Suddenly, I realized:  I can do this.  I served up gin & tonics, Jameson rocks, vodka tonics and 312s.  I was rolling and really enjoying it.  By the time a more successful radio personality, Melissa McGurren of the Mix, joined me behind the bar, she couldn’t find anyone who needed a drink.  She poured 15 shots of Absolut Citron instead and handed ’em out.  Respect.  Soon, former Bear Israel Idonije, Blackhawks legend Chris Chelios & actor John Cusack arrived to earn tips for charity and it was my time to cede my post to the actual celebrities.  Not before bugging Izzy, Cusask and Chelios for selfies – none of which turned out well enough to post.  I could’ve just been cool and happy to work next to ’em, but I couldn’t help myself from geeking out.  I promised myself I’d be cooler if I get invited back next year.  I did get some ok pics of them, however. And I did Cheli a solid – he turned to me, befuddled, when a bargoer asked if they had Green Line.  I yelled out, “We got 312.” and the beer drinker agreed to that.  Chelios asked me where to find the 312s and I said “I got you.”  Went and grabbed one out of the cooler, capped it and handed it to Cheli.  He seemed grateful for the small favor.  I think I want to be a bartender.


I returned to my more comfortable side of the bar to enjoy the rest of the evening.  Albert Almora Jr. made me a vodka drink, as did Tom Higgenson of the Plain White T’s

Kyle Schwarber joined Higgenson on stage to sing Hey There Delilah.

Another rock star, Jim Peterik, showed up to sing a couple of his hits- Eye of the Tiger & Vehicle.


Ian Happ did some microphone work alongside local radio team Stylz & Roman, who really like saying “Make some noise” – they must’ve said that 5 times in a 3 minute presentation. Thomas Ian Nicholas, from American Pie, was there.  He’s famous in Cub circles as the star of “Rookie of the Year”.  He got up and sang Stacy’s Mom.  He’s in a band nowadays.

This night is all about the Cubs.  I had a brief encounter with Willson Contreras, who was very pleasant.

willson contreras melissa brendan


The night was exceptionally fun and Kerry & Sarah Wood continued their mission of doing good things for Chicago.  Success.  Hope I keep getting mistaken for a minor celebrity and invited back year after year.




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