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Chicago Nightlife

Nightlife Resources

Abbey Pub - Chicago Irish Pub
This Chicago pub features drink specials, live music, and full dinner menu. Music ranges from indie rock to traditional Irish music

Chicago Sports Bars - Sportstavern.com
Comprehensive guide to Chicago area sports bars and taverns.

Chicago DJs - Fourth Estate Audio
Chicago wedding and party DJs since 1965. Experienced professional DJs in formal attire for all events. Complete references, and online assistance with your music selection and event planning.

ChicagoClubers.com
Listing of clubs and upcoming events throughout the Chicago area.


Nightclubs

Big Wig Nightclub
Located in an unassuming building that's easy to miss, this Wicker Park hipster joint sports a beauty salon theme complete with vintage hairdryers as light fixtures, wigged mannequins, and shelves stocked with styling products.  Come early if you want to snag one of the salon chairs with attached blow dryer. The crowd is diverse and well-dressed, and the drinks are reasonably priced.
1551 W Division St Tel 773.235.9100

Circus
One of the more recent arrivals on the Chicago club scene, this circus-themed nightclub continues to pack in big crowds in the Clybourn Corridor.  Featuring one of the largest dance floors in the city, friendly and snappy bartenders, mainstream dance music, and a variety of kitschy circus acts (fire blowers, stilt walkers, etc.), Circus promises to be a Chicago hot spot for some time to come.  Cover charges vary.
901 W Weed St Tel 312.266.1200

Crobar The Nightclub
Well-known as the stomping grounds of former Chicago Bull Dennis Rodman, this former warehouse turned nightclub continues to kick out cutting-edge music to a well-heeled crowd.  Originally an industrial nightclub, the club has steadily been expanding its playlist to include trance, techno, jungle and bass 'n drum, as well as top-notch DJs from the U.S. and Europe.  The doorman are selective, so make sure your wardrobe is up to snuff (though couples are always admitted).  The cover charge varies from $5 to $20.
1543 N Kingsbury St Tel 312.413.7000 http://www.crobarnightclub.com

Dragon Room
One of the favorite destinations of the young and well-monied glitterati, this trendy spot features three levels of Asian-inspired decor, including tiki torches at the entrance and a full-service sushi bar.  The first level dance floor (the second level is for VIPs only) spins standard variety dance music, and the laid-back basement lounge offers a welcome respite from the dancing. Cover charges vary from $3 to $10.
809 W Evergreen Tel 312.751.2900 http://www.dragonroomchicago.com

Excalibur
This large and popular club offers something for everyone--a basement level featuring a restaurant, arcade games, and pool tables, a first floor cabaret lounge with dancing, and a top floor high-energy dance venue dubbed "Club X."  The tourist-heavy crowd varies from 22 year old clubbers to suited businessmen, with everything in between. Consider using the valet parking, as street parking in this area is next to impossible.  No cover charge to enter; $5 to $10 cover for Club X.
600 N Dearborn St Tel 312.266.2114 http://www.aceplaces.com/x/home.html

Zentra
Described as a "transglobal nightclub," Zentra adeptly fuses a Western-style nightclub with Eastern decor, including draped Moroccan silks, red Chinese tea lanterns, flavored tobacco hookahs ($4 to $10), and the obligatory belly dancers. The well-dress international crowd drinks mostly cocktails and champagne; this is not the place for a pint of Guiness or a draft of Bud.  Cover charge is $10.
923 W Weed St Tel 312.787.0400 http://www.clubzentra.com


Bars

Butch McGuire's Tavern
One of the veteran's of the Rush-Divison scene, this Irish bar used to be a major hookup joint in the 60's (Playboy founder Hugh Hefner used to frequent the place).  While the hip scene has shifted to the River North and Wicker Park areas, Butch McGuire's still continues to draw large crowds of tourists and conventioneers.  There is no dress code (you'll see more than a few tourists with backpacks and gym shoes), so you can safely leave your black club duds in the closet.
20 W Division St (at Dearborn St) Tel 312.337.9080

Cru Cafe & Wine Bar
Located at the south end of the bar-soaked Division-Rush area, this European-themed wine bar is definitely a change of pace from it's neighbors. With more than 400 selections available (50 or so by the glass), the list has something for everyone from the curious beginner to the wine snob, and the comfortable space makes relaxing with your favorite glass of vino easy.
888 N Wabash Ave Tel 312.337.4078

Glow
This hip new lounge located in the Clybourn Corrider is touted as Chicago's largest VIP room, so be prepared for some scrutiny at the door.  If you're looking to achieve VIP status, you have to pay to play.  You need only purchase a bottle of liquor, but expect to pay $150+ for a bottle that goes for $25 in the store.  Cover charges vary--women usually enter for free, while men can be charged up to $20.
1615 N Clybourn Ave Tel 312.587.8469

Harry's Velvet Room
After unexpectedly shutting down in 1997, this upscale champagne, cigar and dessert lounge was reborn in a cavernous River North basement. One of the first Chicago spots to ride the cigar trend of the mid 90's, Harry's still attracts its share of stoagie smokers.  With conversation-friendly music, velvet drapes and candles, and an abundance of plush coaches and chairs, mellow is the word here.
56 W Illinois St Tel 312.527.5600


Live Music Clubs

Buddy Guy's Legends
Owned by famed blues guitarist Buddy Guy, Legends attracts topnotch blues talent from around the nation (no doubt helped by the reputation of its founder).  Local talent usually takes stage during the week, while weekend shows are usually reserved for nationally touring acts.  Guy himself will occassionally sit in for a gig, and his annual January shows have become instant sellouts.
2548 N Halsted St Tel 773.472.2031 http://www.buddyguys.com

Double Door
Located at the bustling North-Damen-Milwaukee corner in Wicker Park, the Double Door features one of the most diverse lineups of musical acts in the city, everything from southern rockabilly to hardcore industrial metal to acid jazz.  The sound system is topnotch, so you can expect at least good sound regardless of the quality of the act.  Although named for its set of two doors on different streets, you need to enter at the Milwaukee Avenue entrance.  Cover charges vary from $5 to $25 depending on the act.
1572 N Milwaukee Ave Tel 773.489.3160 http://www.doubledoor.com

Green Dolphin Street
Located on the Chicago River in a former auto body shop, this out-of-the-way supper club features both a high-end restaurant and jazz club. The well-prepared modern American cuisine provides a nice precursor to the evening's jazz, which ranges in style from Latin-Cuban to electric fusion. Entrees at the restaurant range from $17 to $27, while cover charges for the jazz club vary (although Mondays and Tuesdays are free).
2200 N Ashland Ave Tel 773.395.0066 http://www.jazzitup.com

Kingston Mines
A Chicago blues institution for more than 30 years, the Kingston Mines features quality blues music (mostly from local players) seven nights a week.  Being the only late night blues bar in the city (it's open til 4:00am on Friday and 5:00am on Saturday), the place attracts musicians from other clubs who have finished their sets.  Cover charges vary, but can be a bit high on the weekends.
2548 N Halsted St Tel 773.472.2031 http://www.kingston-mines.com