ROGERS PARK — Chicago has one word for former resident Eric Barry: Goodbye.
Barry is a San Francisco native whose Huffington Post piece on why Chicago made him miserable went viral last week and drew the ire of locals, in particular, women.
The essay chronicled Barry's 3½ years here, with him writing about having trouble meeting people, being rebuffed by women, facing serious injuries in the city and struggling with transportation. He now lives in New York.
Barry said he felt "defeated" by the city and bought a one-way ticket to the East Coast.
On Tuesday, R Public House, 1508 W. Jarvis Ave., set out to do what any good host would: send him off with a goodbye party.
"I never have heard of people going to a bar in Chicago and not hitting it off with people there," bar owner Renee Labrana said. "And yes we fall on the ice and have many unfortunate accidents. But we shrug most off, have great stories and laugh at ourselves."
The all-day event's menu consisted of cocktail weenies (possibly a nod to this fun fact about Barry), a Frito corn chip burger and plenty of $7 Lagunitas — inspired by Barry's thoughts on local food and beer.
Labrana said her chef came up with the idea for the menu and event after reading the essay and "laughing at his view of the food."
"He complained about his weenie continuously from what I've seen," Labrana said, referencing an article written by a woman who said she and her friends were hit on by Barry, but sternly rebuffed him after he allegedly would not take polite requests to leave them alone.
Barry described the incident from his perspective in his story.
"We all get another good chance to laugh at ourselves raise a glass, maybe meet someone and enjoy the city we love," she said.
Of course, Barry isn't the first to be subject to pen a "goodbye letter" to Chicago, eliciting the wrath of city-dwellers.
Last year, an 18-year-old recently married couple from Arizona who moved to Chicago for only a day were picked up by their parents and moved back home after one of them was punched and the couple was followed by a man who might have been homeless or struggling with mental health issues.
The couple, YouTube vloggers, detailed the encounter in a 16-minute long video titled "THE REASON WE'RE HOMELESS RIGHT NOW."
The pair's story exploded both locally and nationally, prompting angry responses far and wide, and, eventually, another video from the couple that explained the fallout from "haters" who showed little mercy in expressing outrage.
Similar to Barry's "goodbye party," a "walking tour" was organized after the couple left, and it was led by local comedians and recalled various references to the pair's dramatic story.