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.
Carnivale West Loop 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.
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Frontier Noble Square 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 Uptown 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!
Piece Wicker Park 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.
The Grid River North 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.
bellyQ West Loop 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.
Parthenon Greektown 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.
The Bedford Wicker Park 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.