Two important facts you probably weren't aware of: 1) Some male lions mate more than 50 times a day, and 2) December 21st is the longest night of the year (we're talking 15hrs of straight darkness), which also makes it the perfect chance to celebrate what should be the "Best Night of Your Life", assuming you spend it hitting the city's best Thrillist-approved happy hour spots, cocktail bars, and dives, 'til the sun pops back up. Check out our picks for Chicago's eight best party dinner spots below, and make sure to fully map out a perfect evening with our itinerary builder.
This larger-than-life pan-Latino hotspot is home to seven (!) private party rooms, and a menu that’s every bit as vibrant as its patrons (and walls). Pro-tip: order the ceviche and margaritas. Several times.
This antler chandelier-sporting Western saloon does game meat like no one else in Chicago. Large parties can request whole-animal spit-style roasts ranging from wild boar and goat to ALLIGATOR and LLAMA and OTHER THINGS YOU WOULD ALSO PUT IN ALL CAPS.
Sun Wah BBQ
Soon to be back after a little 'heath code' shutdown, Sun Wah's the spot if you’re looking for a group-friendly Chinese resto that won’t break the bank. We suggest calling this 240-seat Uptown mainstay ahead of time to reserve Peking duck and a lazy susan table. Also: BYOB!
With a rotating list of daily drink specials, live band karaoke every Saturday at 11p, and arguably some of the best New Haven-style pizza outside of Connecticut, there's literally nothing not to love about this place, so we won't even rhetorically ask the question.
At this garden-level lounge, you needn’t worry about finding a seat; the space is largehugemungonormous with spacious, pin-tucked booths situated around badass chrome fireplaces. Split some duck-fat popcorn and wings sprinkled with freeze-dried Buffalo powder, all over a round of Thai-style mojitos with coconut-ginger syrup and cilantro.
Bring everyone and their Mothers (especially Grant's... heyo Mrs. Marek!) to this industrially chic Korean barbecue joint -- there’s plenty of space, and the grub is top-notch. Individual grills at the booth seats encourage an interactive dining experience, so impress your friends (and their Moms) with your grillin’ skills with the Korean short ribs and banana leaf-wrapped salmon.
With more than 40 years under its belt, this 300-seat Greek restaurant is the pinnacle of Greek fare in Greektown. Go for the Greek spectacle of Greek-watching a cook slice some lamb from a spit, and Greek stay for the brilliant, wallet-friendly Greek Group Menu option (as long as you're rolling 20+ deep). Greek.
This 8000sqft bank-turned-restaurant sports a bank vault lounge, an intimate dining space, and a lively bar -- it's basically set up for private parties by design. Hit the lounge for socializing, the bar for the Hemingway, and the dining room for pork belly sausage on a honey-pecan waffle.
1. Carnivale Restaurant702 West Fulton Market, Chicago
2. Frontier1072 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
3. Sun Wah BBQ5039 N Broadway St, Chicago
4. The Grid351 W Hubbard St, Chicago
5. bellyQ1400 W Randolph Street, Chicago
6. The Parthenon314 S Halsted St, Chicago
7. The Bedford1612 W Division St, Chicago
Carnivale... exactly as it sounds! This Latin American hub is doling out delicious ceviches, steaks, and zesty 'tails.
It may not be the final frontier, but with ice-taps pouring 16 traditional and seasonal brews, a meat heavy menu featuring specialty sausages, steaks, and "Animal Service", flat screen TVs, and a beer garden, you won't need to explore any further. Allied: Ready yourself for Animal Service with some Smith & Forge, the hard cider that's built strong -- built from Apples and built to Refresh.
Nowhere on Uptown’s Sun Wah BBQ’s menu will you find its most sought-after dish, the three-course Beijing duck feast. The Chinese restaurant’s worst-kept secret, the duck is expertly carved, plated, and served to you by one of the chefs in a jazz-like rhythm of slicing and dicing as the bird’s tender, juicy meat falls off the bone and barely hangs onto its glistening, crunchy skin. The remainder of the duck is then syphoned off into duck fried rice and duck soup for subsequent courses. While you in no uncertain terms come to Sun Wah for the duck, there are other delectable options for those who duck meat altogether, like the Singapore noodles or black mushrooms with fried tofu.
This subterranean lounge serves next-level bar snacks (duck fat popcorn, pad Thai-flavored peanuts), and jars full of spreadable goodness like cave-aged cheddar "pimento" spread w/ roasted red peppers, and flageolet beans with truffle Amere bitters. They're also making top-notch cocktails, like Thai-style mojitos.
While dining at a resto with the word "belly" in the name may make you feel weird, you should get over it and chow down on Korean short ribs and banana leaf-wrapped salmon, or opt for the likes of Thai fried chicken, wood-fired bacon 'n kimchi pancakes, or some tea-smoked duck breast served with steamed Chinese buns. Also: cocktails, wine, and beer.
If you couldn't already tell by the name, this place is Korean. WE KID, obviously, it's Greek, and it's doling out some impeccable Saganaki, flaming cheeses, and generously poured cocktails.
Named for the Bedford, IN limestone that continues to comprise the exterior of the historic Home Bank & Trust building, TB's an 8000sqft den of dining and drinks that includes the bank's original vault room, which's lined with wall-to-wall lockboxes and other trinkets.