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Who's Who Chicago: Centerstage People
Erin Brereton
Erin Brereton, our resident urban cowgirl in search of life-on-the-cheap.
Growing up, Erin always hoped to find a freelancing gig that would allow her to combine her love for writing with her love for going out -- and thanks to Centerstage, life is like Disney World (with bartenders!).

A longtime Chicago resident, Erin graduated from Northwestern University in 1998 and has worked for a number of teen, women's and specialty publications, taught a journalism class at Columbia College and briefly lived in LA on and off for a year. However, unable to find a decent pizza west of Utah, Erin returned to the Windy City, where she now resides and works on the North Side.

When she's not out checking out new bars, Erin can typically be found running, buying shoes, making long "to do" lists that never seem to "be done," or gently patting her liver dry. (This freelancing gig is kind of hard on the life expectancy.) Oh, and donning a cape and silver mask to roam the city and fight crime at night. That too.


Articles by Erin

Breakfast for a Bargain
Cheap Thrills. 01/19/2009.
Brunch for just five bucks? Aye caramba!

Where, Oh Where to Wi-Fi?
Cheap Thrills. 01/05/2009.
Work from home? You need to get out once in a while...and Erin's found two great spots to do it.

Gratis Grub
Cheap Thrills. 12/22/2008.
Free pizza bubbles up at Fizz on weeknights.

The Beat Is On
Cheap Thrills. 12/08/2008.
Live music bargains are on the menu at Beat Kitchen.

SoLow-Priced Dinner and Drinks
Cheap Thrills. 11/24/2008.
Southport's Sopo offers cheap eats and more-for-less martinis on Thursdays.

Rushed Relaxation
Cheap Thrills. 11/10/2008.
Don't expect a spa-quality session from a student massage.

Coffee Culture Talk
Cheap Thrills. 10/27/2008.
Engage in a free lunchtime debate with the Chicago Cultural Center's Cafe Society.

High-Noon Sushi Specials
Cheap Thrills. 10/13/2008.
Sushi lunch deals can get maki in your mouth for less....just be prepared for something a little different.

Breeze, Booze and a Weekend Bargain
Cheap Thrills. 09/29/2008.
Cheap drinks, pizza and scenery abound at Cooper’s on Sundays.

Tasty and Tax-Free
Cheap Thrills. 09/15/2008.
A good dining deal at Bin 36 makes high noon look a lot more enticing.

North Side Nosh
Cheap Thrills. 09/01/2008.
Dinner and drinks abound every Monday at Witt's...and neither will cost you much.

Don’t Mimosa If I Do
Cheap Thrills. 08/18/2008.
Land some cheap morning cocktails midday at The Kerryman.

Mega Mugs for Less
Cheap Thrills. 08/04/2008.
Get a ton of beers at T's.

Leaving Home, Logging On
Cheap Thrills. 07/21/2008.
Erin embarks on another hunt for a decent wi-fi hotspot.

South Loop Special
Cheap Thrills. 07/08/2008.
Head south of downtown for a real meal deal.

The Perfect Musical Picnic
Cheap Thrills. 06/23/2008.
Free music mixed with Chicago summer nights? 'Tis the season.

Going Long
Cheap Thrills. 06/09/2008.
Marked-down microbrews make for a nice mid-week treat.

A Golden Glass of Old Times
Cheap Thrills. 05/27/2008.
Looking for a little liquid nostalgia, Erin heads to Iggy's this week for bargain brews.

TGIT... If You're on Madison
Cheap Thrills. 05/12/2008.
Bargain beer, affordable appetizers and ample seating make the west part of Madison a great end-of-the-week street.

Sunday Sippin'
Cheap Thrills. 04/28/2008.
Bargain beer and a decent quesadilla make ending the weekend all the easier.

Ole Your Way Toward May
Cheap Thrills. 04/14/2008.
Score $3 tapas and satisfying sangria on weeknights or weekends at Cafe-Ba-Ba-Reeba.

Sing Me a Song, Piano Man
Cheap Thrills. 03/31/2008.
Erin gets to enjoy piano music without having to warm up with scales.

Hand Me Another Half-Carafe
Cheap Thrills. 03/17/2008.
A Mano's $5 bar menu makes it easy to snack as you drink—and you won't have to leave work early to enjoy it.

Delivered on the Pizza, Not the Service
Cheap Thrills. 03/03/2008.
An all-you-can-eat deal will have you gorging on pizza and pints...until your waitress decides you're done.

A Booze Bender Makes it Better
Cheap Thrills. 02/18/2008.
A long weekend going out around the city is the cure for this common, consistent cold.

A Bargain on Bubbly
Cheap Thrills. 02/05/2008.
Erin finds a reason to celebrate nothing at a Wednesday night Pops for Champagne tasting.

Deep Tissue at a Discount
Cheap Thrills. 01/21/2008.
For less than 35 bucks, you can buy a reasonable rubdown.

Wi-fi Woes
Cheap Thrills. 01/04/2008.
Erin checks out two wi-fi spots, only to find they don't pan out as wi-fi finds.

Making it Work
Cheap Thrills. 12/24/2007.
One day Erin's in, the next day she's out...braving the cold for "Project Runway" and drink deals.

Something Smells Fishy
Cheap Thrills. 12/10/2007.
The deals at Redfish leave Erin hungry for more.

A Bummer of a Bar Buffet
Cheap Thrills. 11/26/2007.
Cheap beer, free food and a fried snack nightcap help start the week off strong.

Show Me the Dollar Signs!
Cheap Thrills. 11/12/2007.
Erin and friends confront HC's ambiguous mid-week drink deals.

Saving Screwdrivers for a Rainy Day
Cheap Thrills. 10/29/2007.
Forget cats and dogs. At Nick's Fishmarket, it's raining $6 screwdrivers and two-buck appetizers.

A Tasting for a Ten Spot
Cheap Thrills. 10/15/2007.
Erin's down with Wine Down, Foodlife's monthly wine tasting.

Dealing with Downtown
Cheap Thrills. 10/01/2007.
After catching a flick, Erin digs around downtown for a Saturday night food and drink deal.

Excessive Eggs for Less
Cheap Thrills. 09/17/2007.
Egged on by her parents to find spots with all-you-can-eat breakfast foods, Erin hunts down the city's bargain brunch buffets.

Bring On the Bingo Man
Cheap Thrills. 09/04/2007.
Erin discovers Bingo isn't just for old folks, especially when it comes with table tappers and pub grub.

A Sweet Steal
Cheap Thrills. 08/20/2007.
Waterhouse's $3 chocolate martinis leave Erin and friends with a bargain bar tab.

Wi-Fi Findings
Cheap Thrills. 08/06/2007.
Tired of working from home, Erin embarks on a tour of spots—from bars to coffee shops—where she can log on sans fee.

The Most Inexpensive Meal of the Day
Cheap Thrills. 07/23/2007.
Breakfast for less than $4? Instant oatmeal, pack your things. We're done.

Open 'til 4 or More
Nightlife Guides. 07/18/2007.
These late-night haunts will keep your crew chugging well into the morning.

High Time for High Tea
Cheap Thrills. 07/15/2007.
Blimey! Snacks and sips do make an afternoon complete.

Is it Really All That Jazz?
Cheap Thrills. 06/25/2007.
Tuesdays on the Terrace at the MCA leave Erin underwhelmed with watered-down drinks and barely audible jazz.

A Tale of Big City Tap
Cheap Thrills. 06/11/2007.
This Lakeview bar goes from day to night mode in a jiffy, with slick deals to boot.

Just Desserts
Dining Guides. 06/04/2007.
Move over mint chocolate chip: These unique summer snack spots take over the frozen world.

Sangria Worth Celebrating
Cheap Thrills. 05/30/2007.
Move over, Columbus: I've discovered a drink deal out of this New World.

Wine Down Wednesday
Cheap Thrills. 05/15/2007.
Matilda has wine deals and a reason to put on pants? I'm there.

Wild Pies
Dining Guides. 05/07/2007.
This is not your mother's fact, some of these don't seem like 'za at all.

Gone Greek
Cheap Thrills. 05/02/2007.
Erin becomes a born-again Greektown-lover after a trip to Venus during happy hour.

Smooth Sailing
Cheap Thrills. 04/16/2007.
It's all about nightly deals and a nautical theme at Weather Mark Tavern.

Cutting Bangs...and Beauty Costs
Cheap Thrills. 04/04/2007.
Erin gets a stylish shearing for a Super Cuts cost at the Aveda Institute.

Cheap Bar Detectives
Cheap Thrills. 03/19/2007.
Erin and friends continue on their search for perfect pub-ness.

DIY Flights, Fancy Bites
Cheap Thrills. 03/05/2007.
Get drunk at a place where only the name makes you dizzy.

South Loop, South of the Border
Cheap Thrills. 02/19/2007.
Don't wait around for spring to start your spring break. Because I don't think it's coming.

Happy Meal, Indeed
Cheap Thrills. 02/05/2007.
Good things come in small packages. Sometimes, chicken and corn do, too.

Take Me to the City
Cheap Thrills. 01/22/2007.
I'll take Manhattan. The one I can afford.

Everything But The Kitsch'n Sink
Cheap Thrills. 01/08/2007.
Though honestly, the sink is probably used in preparation of the free food and drinks.

Thai One On
Cheap Thrills. 12/25/2006.
Get spicy food and drink for a five-spot.

Drinking Before the Day Is Done
Cheap Thrills. 12/11/2006.
With happy hours, there's not always so much at steak.

A Many-Martini Evening
Cheap Thrills. 11/28/2006.
Looking for five-spot cocktails? Follow your way through the Green Door.

Giving Cans a Second Chance
Cheap Thrills. 11/13/2006.
Attitude-free cheap vodka cocktails, served up on Thursdays.

Deep Dish, Shallow Pockets
Cheap Thrills. 10/30/2006.
Getting a deal on Chicago-style pizza (Diet Coke included).

Feeling A Little Snacky?
Cheap Thrills. 10/16/2006.
Don't hang out with me; I've had a hard time finding cheap eats this week.

I'm Sorry, TGI What?
Cheap Thrills. 10/02/2006.
Eat like a queen early in the week.

Appetizing First Acts
Dining Guides. 09/18/2006.
You'll be saying "entree, who?" once you see the appetizer menus at these restaurants.

Is There Such Thing as a Free Meal?
Cheap Thrills. 09/18/2006.
Free food can be hard to find, but low-price liquor? Everywhere you turn.

Hungry? Hungover?
Dining Guides. 09/04/2006.
Feeling rancid after a night on the town? Chew your way to serenity.

Frugal (and Froo-Froo) Martinis
Cheap Thrills. 09/04/2006.
Cap the weekend off with a little Boystown martini madness.

Oh, Mr. Lincoln
Cheap Thrills. 08/21/2006.
Got $5? Then you've got dinner, my friend.

Strap on the Stilettos
Cheap Thrills. 08/07/2006.
Drink discounts and impractical footwear? Happy hump day.

I'll Take Seconds, Please
Cheap Thrills. 07/24/2006.
When is funny most fun? When it's free...and held on the famed Second City stage.

Taking On The $1.95 Menu
Cheap Thrills. 07/10/2006.
Cheap eats aren't always what you bargain for.

Totally Tanked Thursdays
Cheap Thrills. 06/26/2006.
Get blotto at Grotto on Thursday nights. I did.

Totally Thrifty Thursdays...and Fridays
Cheap Thrills. 06/12/2006.
Free museum walks without any annoying docents.

Bottles Up!
Cheap Thrills. 05/29/2006.
Half-price bottles of wine make Monday a little less dry.

Tippling Over Trivia
Cheap Thrills. 05/15/2006.
Get out your movie memory—but leave the bowling ball at home—on Thursday nights.

Bar-side Book Readings
Cheap Thrills. 05/01/2006.
Low-cost lit you can wash down with a beer: A win-win for all.

Under-a-Buck Beer
Cheap Thrills. 04/17/2006.
With Cactus' Tuesday night beer deals, the desert has never felt less dry.

Happy Hour, Take Two
Cheap Thrills. 04/03/2006.
Get more drink (but not necessarily alcohol) for your dime at Tizi Melloul.

Hunting the After-Work Deal
Cheap Thrills. 03/20/2006.
The death of the American Happy Hour sure makes working a lot harder.

Beer Tasting
Cheap Thrills. 03/06/2006.
Trying new brews the cheapest way possible.

Experimenting With Freebie Music
Cheap Thrills. 02/20/2006.
Music, like life, is at its best unpredictable.

The CD Listening Party
Cheap Thrills. 02/06/2006.
Open bar, lots of music and a girl named Stacy.

Swanking It Up
Cheap Thrills. 01/23/2006.
Maybe the W stands for "Weally inexpensive"

The Bargain Bellini Brunch
Cheap Thrills. 01/09/2006.
Start Sunday right with a cheapie cocktail.

Check Out The Gallery Scene, Cheapo!
Cheap Thrills. 12/26/2005.
Art, while generally quite expensive to buy, is often free to look at.

Penny Wine Is Still A Deal
Cheap Thrills. 12/12/2005.
Spend your laundry money on hootch.

Channeling Christmas at Christkindlmarket
Cheap Thrills. 11/28/2005.
No really, it's OK to spoil yourself. Especially when it's free.

Spending Sunday At The (Music) Salon
Cheap Thrills. 11/14/2005.
An afternoon of free-of-charge music.

Nosy Neighbors
Cheap Thrills. 10/31/2005.
The South Loop wants to take you out.

BYOB Saves Bucks
Cheap Thrills. 10/17/2005.
They provide the food; you bring the hootch and everybody wins.

Free Funnies
Cheap Thrills. 10/03/2005.
Wednesday nights at i.O. bring great laughs.

Spa Savings
Cheap Thrills. 09/19/2005.
Beauty treatments for the thrifty.

Al Fresco Audio
Cheap Thrills. 09/06/2005.
No matter what the city says, leave the liquor at home.

Where's the Party?
Cheap Thrills. 08/22/2005.
Plan a bash at a bar so it won't involve someone vomiting in your bathroom. Well, unless you drink too much at the bash at a bar.

Wasting Away in Margaritaville
Cheap Thrills. 08/09/2005.
Park Grill woos landscape-lovers and lushes.

High-Fun, Low-Cost Weekends
Cheap Thrills. 07/25/2005.
Get ready to chew on these bar specials.

Danny's Reading Series
Cheap Thrills. 07/11/2005.
Listen up for free, 'natch.

Wine Good Time
Cheap Thrills. 05/03/2005.
Sip a variety of vino—and horde your elbow space—at Bin 36's Tastings.

Buck Beers?
Cheap Thrills. 04/19/2005.
Not bad for a hump day evening out.

Hot Pink
Cheap Thrills. 03/24/2005.
Think Pink for a free girl's night out.

Chopsticks and Cinema
Cheap Thrills. 03/10/2005.
Stuff yourself with sushi and take in a monster movie.

What Is...Bar Trivia?
Cheap Thrills. 02/13/2005.
In this game, winning takes a backseat to drinking and fun.

Venues Reviewed by Erin

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