The Big Chicago 10: Nightlife Venues

  • 01 of 11

    Chicago at Night: From The Blues To Late-Night Scenes

    Studio Paris Nightclub

    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.
  • 02 of 11

    Arcades For Grown Folks

    Headquarters-River-North-4.jpg
    Alexander Pavlovcik

    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

    More Like It:

    Emporium Arcade Bar

    Logan Arcade

    Replay Beer & Bourbon Andersonville

    Replay Beer & Bourbon Lakeview

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  • 03 of 11

    Adult Entertainment

    VIP's Gentlemen's Club

    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.

    More Like It:

    Admiral Theatre

    Atlantis Gentlemen's Club

    Pink Monkey

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  • 04 of 11

    Cocktail Culture

    Freehand Chicago

    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.

    More Like It:

    Arbella

    The Aviary

    The Betty

    GreenRiver

    Punch House

    Scofflaw

    Three Dots and a Dash

    Violet Hour

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  • 05 of 11

    Dance Clubs

    Studio Paris Nightclub

    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.

    More Like It:

    Berlin

    The Mid

    PRYSM Nightclub

    Smart Bar

    Spy Bar

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  • 06 of 11

    Hottest Singles Scenes

    Eric Benjamin Kleinberg/Swift & Sons

    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

    More Like It:

    Fig & Olive

    Maple & Ash

    Scofflaw

    Siena Tavern

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  • 07 of 11

    Comedy Clubs

    Zanies Comedy Clubs

    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.

    More Like It:

    The Comedy Bar

    The iO Theater

    The Second City

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  • 08 of 11

    Live Music Venues

    City-Winery.jpg
    Photo courtesy of City Winery Chicago

    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.

    More Like It:

    Cobra Lounge

    Green Mill

    Metro

    The Promontory  

    The Wild Hare

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  • 09 of 11

    Nothing But The Blues

    Buddy Guy's Legends

    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.

    More Like It:

    Blue Chicago

    Crossroads at House of Blues

    Kingston Mines

    Rosa's Lounge

    Underground Wonder Bar

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  • 10 of 11

    Ping Pong, WhirlyBall, Bowling & More

    WhirlyBall

    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.

    More Like It:

    AceBounce

    Bocce Courts at Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

    City Pool Hall

    Diversey River Bowl

    Pinstripes

    Southport Lanes & Billiards

    SPiN

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  • 11 of 11

    Top Date Night Spots

    Maude's Liquor Bar

    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.

    More Like It:

    Le Colonial

    Monteverde

    Parachute

    Pops for Champagne

    Webster's Wine Bar