Chicago fact-finding tour, 2017: One or the other Haymarkets on Tuesday, July 4.

Greektown is right down Halsted …


The Confidentials had an appointment in Chicago on July 6, and I’ll have more to say about it. Why drive all the way up and back without spending a day or three seeing the town?

I’d have preferred an Airbnb in a place like Oak Park, but the last-minute nature of the exercise found the choicest rooms already booked. Diana gave Priceline a spin, and the result was an inexpensive room at the Kimpton Allegro downtown at Randolph and Wells in the theater district.

But when the parking costs as much as a discounted room, I recommend Spot Hero. It was flawless, and saved 60% off the hotel’s parking fee. The car was 100 feet away in a garage across the street. Granted, there are restrictions. We knew we’d be walking or riding CTA with 3-day passes ($20), so it was worth it to let the car sit.

We arrived at noon on Tuesday, July 4. There’d be fireworks later in the evening, and crowds already were thronging Millennium Park in early afternoon. Still, many businesses were closed for the day. We found a passable Mexican joint for lunch, studied the map and found that a brewpub was within walking distance of the hotel — west, over the river and under the transit hub.

This was Haymarket Pub & Brewery, located at the corner of Randolph and Halsted. The interstate passes between the brewery and the site of the Haymarket Affair.

The crowd gathered on the evening of May 4 on Des Plaines Street, just north of Randolph, was peaceful, and Mayor Carter H. Harrison, who attended, instructed police not to disturb the meeting. But when one speaker urged the dwindling crowd to “throttle” the law, 176 officers under Inspector John Bonfield marched to the meeting and ordered it to disperse.

Then someone hurled a bomb at the police, killing one officer instantly. Police drew guns, firing wildly. Sixty officers were injured, and eight died; an undetermined number of the crowd were killed or wounded.

Taken together, the bombing’s agitated prelude and the overwrought reaction to it contributed mightily to the concept of May Day worldwide. That’s right — it all started in Chicago. I bet you thought it was Moscow.

We were told that the Haymarket Memorial near Desplaines and Randolph streets has been temporarily displaced for a building project and will return in the fall of 2017. Here’s a file photo.

At the brewery, the doors were open facing the street on a temperate day, and we enjoyed beers and nibbles while watching baseball on television. I’d guess that Belgian derivatives and IPAs made up two-thirds of the draft list on the day of our visit. Seeing as I’ve finally relented to the notion of samplers, my choices ranged across the menu. Every Haymarket beer I drank, whether hoppy or malty, was very good — with a single exception, the Kölsch.

Call me old-fashioned, but hop aromatics redolent of honeydew melon and strawberry are better deployed elsewhere. Somehow the characteristic Kölsch crispness was buried in fruit. It wasn’t my gig; however, make no mistake. The Haymarket Pub & Brewery is outstanding, and I’d return there in a heartbeat.

We bought wings to go and returned to the hotel for a nightcap, only to find the bar closed for the holiday. Fortunately there is a Seven-Eleven right around the corner, and it yielded a six-pack of Revolution Gumballhead Sun Crusher cans.

Red alert to the trencherman in me, because Chicago was going to be caloric.

On Wednesday: Cubs and Rays at Wrigley Field and beers at the Red Lion