Two busloads of Blackhawks players visited Tavern on Rush with the Stanley Cup on Tuesday, and the Gold Coast bar and restaurant — one of many stops on the team's victory tour since winning the title on Monday — had all of 30 minutes to prepare for it.
"I got a phone call from Kris Versteeg asking if we were ready for the Cup in a half-hour," Tavern on Rush VIP coordinator Scott Lindvall said via email, "and I said, 'Absolutely.'"
Tavern had to clear out the VIP section of the bar immediately to make room for the players and gave a heads-up to the police, who blocked off the street in front, Lindvall said.
Despite the short notice, Tavern and the other Chicago bars and restaurants were ready for the madness. They have plenty of experience with this sort of thing, given this is the Blackhawks' third Stanley Cup celebration in six years.
Rockit Bar & Grill was packed Monday with a long line outside but kept the seating area next to the second floor windows empty. That's where the Blackhawks celebrated their previous two titles (the windows open, allowing the players to share the celebration with the crowd outside). But the players never showed up, instead opting to remain at the United Center until the early hours of Tuesday before heading to The Mid nightclub.
The team, did, however, come by with the Cup the next day. And once again, Rockit was ready.
"Like other celebs or VIPs, we just saved them a great section so they wouldn't get mobbed," said Rockit co-owner Billy Dec, who added that he didn't get a confirmation that the players were coming until about a half-hour before.
On hand for the celebration at Rockit were Destiny's Child singer and Rockford native Michelle Williams and pop star Natasha Bedingfield. Williams tweeted a photo of the two of them, plus Dec, with the Blackhawks' Brent Seabrook and the Cup.
Dec's many venues always have been popular celebrity hangouts, which is how he has gotten to know the players. The Blackhawks also brought the Stanley Cup to Rockit Burger Bar on Tuesday (after taking it to the Cubs-Indians game at Wrigley Field) and The Underground on Wednesday, both of which are co-owned by Dec.
That Wrigley Field stop? The Blackhawks told the Cubs they would be coming the morning of, according to a Cubs representative.
Chicago Cut Steakhouse didn't get any notice that coach Joel Quenneville was bringing the Cup on Thursday. A representative for the restaurant said someone called to reserve the private dining room for a celebrity but made no mention of Quenneville or the Cup.
R.J. Melman — co-owner for Paris Club Bistro & Bar's upstairs club, Studio Paris — said his venue was given about a two-hour heads-up by both players and members of the organization.
What was the highlight of the Blackhawks' visit to Studio Paris?
"Patrick Kane was spraying Champagne out of a giant bottle of champagne on everyone," Melman said via email.
Heads up: The Bulls' Jimmy Butler is scheduled to appear Friday at The Chicago Ball photography exhibit – which is hosted by Mountain Dew and The Remix Project -- at Lucana Chicago in Pilsen.
Sightings: Butler dined June 13 at the newly opened Prime and Provisions. ... The Bears' Jay Cutler and Jimmy Clausen hung out at Bub City in the early hours of June 13. ... Former NBA All-Star Grant Hill and wife and singer Tamia had dinner Monday at Sunda. ... New Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg dined Wednesday at Lou Malnati's Pizzeria in the Gold Coast. The Cubs' Jon Lester dined there Monday. ... The Cubs' Anthony Rizzo hung out Monday at Studio Paris. Teammates Travis Wood, Jason Hammel and Jason Motte played whirlyball and laser tag at Whirlyball-Chicago on June 12. ... Former Blackhawk Jeremy Roenick was spotted June 11 at RPM Italian and Three Dots and a Dash. ... Baseball legend Randy Johnson and Rush singer Geddy Lee dined together June 13 at Spiaggia. ... ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit had dinner June 12 at Gibson's Bar & Steakhouse-Chicago.