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Chicago at Night: From The Blues To Late-Night Scenes
Las Vegas, Miami and New York may boast after-hours parties that go on long after the break of dawn, but Chicago is all heart and talent when it comes to nightlife. The Windy City easily lays claim to some of the country's top deejays and mixologists, plus it's stomping grounds for many live-music acts and comedians who've gone on to insanely successful careers.
So, when you're in town, and you want to get out and about, you can count on these places to offer the very best in late-night entertainment.Continue to 2 of 11 below.
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Arcades For Grown Folks
The Experience: Headquarters River North, a bi-level cocktail lounge and eatery, showcases retro and contemporary arcade games in a swanky setting. The menu falls in line, featuring familiar dishes and drinks inspired by 1980s and 1990s pop culture. There is another location in Lakeview, however, it doesn't serve food.
Address: 213 W. Institute
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The Experience: Far from a stereotypical sleazy strip joint, VIP's Gentlemen's Club offers a tamer choice for bachelor parties, entertaining clients or to bring a hesitant girlfriend who wants to sample the strip club experience. It's considered "tame" because the dancers do not fully undress. Rather, they strip down to tiny short shorts, and they have liquid latex covering their naughty bits. VIP's is the only gentlemen's club in Chicago with a full-service bar.
Address: 1531 N. Kingsbury Ave.
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The Experience: Located in River North-based hotel Freehand Chicago, The Broken Shaker showcases Polynesian-inspired specialty drinks and share-able plates. The crowd's a great mix of locals, bar industry types and visitors, and guests are instantly welcomed like regulars. There's a lot of fun aspect to this menu, from the daily punch offering to "Pick-Nick Service"--The Broken Shaker's version of bottle service. Guests get a choice of a 375 milliliter bottle (think bourbon, vodka) and freshly squeezed juice. It arrives served in a basket.
Address: 19 E. Ohio St.
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Punch HouseContinue to 5 of 11 below.
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The Experience: No doubt about it, Studio Paris rules the River North nightlife scene. Top deejays from across the globe spin EDM, hip-hop and pop to the delight of influencers, celebrities and others who come to party. Bottle service is a necessity if you expect to get seats. High-profile artists like Jason Derulo, LMFAO, Rita Ora, Rev Run and CeeLo Green have performed on the stage.
Address: 2nd Floor, 59 W. Hubbard St.
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Hottest Singles Scenes
The Experience: When it comes to Chicago's modern steakhouses and whiskey bars, you can count on those wielding single statuses to show up in droves. That's especially true of West Loop newcomer Swift & Sons, which can legitimately claim itself the neighborhood bar for Google employees (It's on the bottom floor of the Chicago headquarters). Just imagine all those single techy types hanging out at the bar on the regular.
Address: 1000 W. Fulton Market
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Fig & OliveContinue to 7 of 11 below.
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The Experience: A Chicago landmark for almost 40 years, Zanies Comedy Club features both major headliners as well as up-and-coming comedians. It's an intimate venue, and the audience is made to feel as though they're at home. Zanies has a two-drink minimum policy.
Address: 1548 N. Wells St.
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Live Music Venues
The Experience: Let’s face it. You don’t go to a live-music venue expecting a decent glass or bottle of wine. You either deal with the crappy wine or order something else. That was the case until City Winery popped up in the West Loop in 2012. With an on-premise wine distillery, the venue cranks out its own superior wine. What it doesn’t offer it ships in from its New York venue. Genres are all over the place as far as music; it ranges from folk to funk.
Address: 1200 W. Randolph St.
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The PromontoryContinue to 9 of 11 below.
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Nothing But The Blues
The Experience: Dubbed "the greatest living guitarist" by Eric Clapton, Chicago legend Buddy Guy opened his eponymous downtown live music venue in 1989. Throughout the years, the club has hosted a who's who in show biz: Willie Dixon, Koko Taylor, Otis Rush, Albert Collins, B.B. King, Johnny Winter, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bo Diddley, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, ZZ Top, Gregg Allman, Slash, John Mayer, Sheila E. and Pete Townshend. The walls document the bar's rich history, featuring autographed photos, endless awards and more.
Address: 700 S. Wabash Ave.
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Ping Pong, WhirlyBall, Bowling & More
The Experience: A Chicago tradition, WhirlyBall is a combination of lacrosse, hockey and basketball with bumper cars. Yes, you read that correctly, and yes, it's quite challenging even for the most hardcore Windy City resident with athletic skills. Those not into WhirlyBall can also try their hand at bowling or laser tag, which are also offered on premises.
Address: 1825 W. Webster Ave.
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Bocce Courts at Chicago Athletic Association Hotel
PinstripesContinue to 11 of 11 below.
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Top Date Night Spots
The Experience: Maude’s Liquor Bar considers itself to be a French “dive bar.” But for a dive bar, it certainly outshines its counterparts, offering at its center craft cocktails, a host of offbeat French wines and more. Like many of the French-themed bars around town, Maude’s is a great date place with low lights, sultry exotic beats and an intimate setting.
Address: 840 W. Randolph St.
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