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Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town

In New ‘Chicago Handshake’ Card Game, The Loser (Or Winner?) Does A Shot Of Malört

The game features trivia questions and Chicago-specific challenges, while encouraging consumption of the city’s most controversial beverage.

The new Chicago Handshake drinking card game at Transit Tees in Wicker Park on Oct. 5, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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WICKER PARK — The stakes of Chicago’s newest drinking game couldn’t be higher: Losers must throw back a shot of Malört and a tallboy beer of their choosing. 

Transit Tees’ “Chicago Handshake” game invites players to take turns drawings cards with local trivia questions or challenges, like having to talk in a sports “super fan” accent, naming each topping for a Chicago hot dog or listing city streets that begin with a specific letter. 

Cards have a token value attached, and you collect tokens when you get a question wrong or fail a challenge. Whoever ends up with the most tokens by the end of the game has to drink a Chicago Handshake, a beer and shot combo that typically involves Malört and an Old Style tallboy.

One player in each round also serves as the “bartender” and has the power to randomly give out drinks “on the house.” 

Kyle John Hollings, Transit Tees art director, came up with the idea for the game after he noticed similarities between the Malört and Old Style logos, two of Chicago’s most well-known alcoholic beverages. 

“To pull the ‘Chicago Handshake’ concept together, I kind of merged them and finessed it and came up with this,” he said. “Once we started development on the game, it seemed like a natural fit for the look and feel as well as the title.”

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
The new Chicago Handshake drinking card game at Transit Tees in Wicker Park on Oct. 5, 2021.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Kyle John Hollings shows off the new Chicago Handshake drinking card game at Transit Tees in Wicker Park on Oct. 5, 2021.

The game’s design and illustration style were inspired by the decor of classic Chicago taverns and bars, Hollings said.

That “vintage handcrafted look and intricate look of wooden bars and mirrors and signage and things that kind of take you back to a different era,” he said. 

“Chicago Handshake” is the latest game for Transit Tees, which has sold transit and urban-related apparel and art since 2001. 

In 2019, the company released the popular “EL: The Chicago Transit Adventure,” which requires players to use the CTA map as the game board. 

Transit Tees hoped to launch “Chicago Handshake” last year but had to delay plans because of the pandemic. 

“When March 2020 rolled around, and things were shut down, we realized that this was going to impact the playability of this, and so we did hold it off for a year,” said Transit Tees owner Tim Gillengerten. “In that time Kyle developed it more, we actually play tested it through Zoom.”

“Chicago Handshake” is for sale on Transit Tee’s website for $22. Company leaders say decks should also be available this week at their stores in Wicker Park, 1371 N. Milwaukee Ave., and Andersonville, 5226 N. Clark St., as well as at Garfield’s Beverage locations throughout the city. 

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Tim Gillengerten and Kyle John Hollings look over the new Chicago Handshake drinking card game at Transit Tees in Wicker Park on Oct. 5, 2021.

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