This December 21st -- the longest night of the year -- it's time to prove once and for all that the Best Night of Your Life wasn't that one time Elisabeth Shue babysat you in 1987. To help, we're rounding up the city's most Thrillist-approved spots to get your BNOYL on, from the happiest of happy hours, to the greasiest of late-night eats, to way, way, WAY more. Today we check in with a list of Chicago's best clubs and another chance to fully map out a perfect evening with our itinerary builder.
If you're rich, $5000 buys you a behemoth 15L bottle of Yellow Label Brut at this posh, subterranean club. If you're not, they've got strawberry Pop-Tarts!
Often regarded as THE definitive nightclub in Chi, this iconically glass-roofed space hosts some of the biggest names in EDM, including Tiesto, deadmau5, and Calvin Harris.
This hair salon-meets-dance bar slings 'do-themed cocktails, like the Perm (Sailor Jerry rum, fresh lime, cranberry & orange) and the Platinum Blonde (Three Olives Vodka, Malibu & pineapple), along with some raucous beats. Entry's always free before 9p.
As long as you’re wearing a shirt, shoes, and (ugh) pants, anything goes at this laid-back Lakeview haven for deep-track techno/dubstep fans.
At 8000sqft, this spacious, Afro-music venue plays host to some of the most elite funk/soul acts and DJs around. The overall club experience is an elevated one, thanks to a high-quality sound system and plenty of upscale bells and whistles -- without the outrageous tab/actual bells or whistles.
Perhaps the biggest of all of the clubs on our list, the place formerly known as Green Dolphin Street boasts four separate rooms with different musical themes, as well as five full-service bars. If that’s not enough to keep you entertained, be sure to check out the 7600-pixel LED light shows, complete with full-color lasers.
Beyond the back alley entrance to this cult-ish fan favorite is a space covered wall-to-wall in neon murals and a crowd of all sorts of eccentric club-goers. Go for the people watching, stay for The Matrix joke possibilities.
This affordable bar and soundstage features a piano-turned-DJ booth, a doll head installation, and an infectious devil-may-care attitude. The space is host to musical acts that run the gamut from death metal to country to punk, and has built a strong base of regulars over its two decades of bottle emptying.
1. The Underground56 W Illinois St, Chicago
2. Studio Paris59 W Hubbard St, Chicago
3. Beauty Bar1444 W Chicago Ave, Chicago
4. Smart Bar3730 N Clark St, Chicago
5. The Shrine2109 S Wabash, Chicago
6. Dolphin2220 N Ashland Ave, Chicago
7. Neo Nightclub2350 N Clark St, Chicago
8. Empty Bottle1035 N Western Ave, Chicago
The Underground is back in Chicago, serving up crazy cocktails and giant 30lb Champagne bottles in a totally decked out new space.
French-inspired fare headlines this bistro in Chicago's River North neighborhood. Get Francophilic with a selection of fine French Champagnes, updates on classics like chicken paillard and short rib bourguignon, and tons of shellfish, including Le Grand Plateau with lobster, oysters, snow crab claws, shrimp, and king crab.
An outpost of the NY-based chain of wild, multicolored nightclubs, Beauty Bar is designed to resemble an old-school salon from the '60s, mixed with a dance-heavy dive bar. Among blow-drying and nail-painting stations, the bartenders even sling specialty hair-themed cocktails, like Bed Head (Sauza Blue Silver tequila shaken with pineapple and lime juices) and The Blowout (Jim Beam rye or bourbon whiskey, dekuyper ginger, liqueur, lemon).
Smart Bar has a great sound system, as well as frequent DJs and awesome drinks.
Shrine is a 8,000 square-foot temple to nightlife split up between an earth toned, leather banquette-encrusted Afro-music venue (hosting funk/soul acts, DJs, eclectic dancers, etc).
Dolphin is a full-on dance club with the guy behind Boom Boom Room serving as music director, a massive sound system and LED light show, and a lounge/garden area.
Neo's is a Thursday night dancing haven, with awesome tunes and strong libations.