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Whiskey Blue and the W Lobby Bars: Sleek and Stylish....It's a W!
We had nightcaps at Whiskey Blue the both nights we stayed at the W City Center. It was pretty quiet on Friday nigh but it was a little more crowded on Saturday. As with all things associated with any W Hotel, it was sleek, dark and very Euro. Not the kind of place I'd like to spend an entire evening at but it was a fun people watching spot!
We also had cocktails in the Hotel Lobby and at a little bar that's off the Restaurant. W Staff is always friendly and helpful and yes, the drinks are probably overpriced but the atmosphere's great and hey, we were on vacation!
Dress Code: Dressy is good.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Business Travel
- Luxury Travel
Guest Lists and Free Drinks at Nightclubs
I have collected the web sites for several clubs or sites that specialize in club events. You can get yourself on the guest list at a discount or for free. Some places offer free drinks, food, and dance lessons. Let me know if you find any deals I have not listed. ENJOY!
Dress Code: No Jeans
No Baseball Hats
Emmit's Pub: Emmit's Pub
You'll recognize Emmit's Pub from the Hollywood blockbuster Ocean's Eleven (the scene where George Clooney's character offers Matt Damon's character a job for his Vegas heist.) The building that houses Emmit's is situated on a triangular lot and dates back to the 1890's. During Prohibition it was the Italian Savings and Trust, a bank reputed to be a haven for the Mob. The large vault is now Emmit's wine cellar. Years later, the building became a bar called O'Sullivan's, a favorite hangout of judges and firefighters, and notorious for its dwarf-tossing contests.
In addition to Ocean's Eleven, scenes from the movies, "Uncle Buck" and "Backdraft," the latter a film about Chicago firemen, were shot here. It's a casual place that still gets its share of judges from the O'Sullivan's days, plus downtown businesspeople and a 25-45ish crowd at night. There is also a kitchen that serves up popular Irish style meals like shepherd's pie and Irish stew. It highlights local microbrews, plus a nice selection of scotches.
Clark Street Ale House: Classic "Old School" Chicago tavern (River North)
It's good to know about this River North tavern - non-chain, non-scene, non-yuppie. It has a very good beer selection (25 on tap) as well as generous number of wines by the glass. It's also home to some serious drinkers - not the touristy type of Michigan Avenue, but the real "pros" who take advantage of the Ale House's late license. (They are open till 4 on weeknights and until 5 on weekends.)
Yes, it can be loud and raucous: but this is Chicago, remember!
- Beer Tasting
Fireplace Inn: Cool down with a Vodka Lemonade
So after my great dinner at Topo Gigio, I met a close friend from high school out on Wells Street for an after dinner drink. Little did I know I would be in for a *few* awesome beverages.
The Fireplace Inn is well known for its Vodka Lemonade, as well as some mighty fine ribs. They claim to be the best ribs in Chicago, but for right now I will not lay claim to that until I have sampled others. Back to the Vodka Lemonade however...
We all know that Vodka is odorless and tasteless by default, however when you add in a flavoring to that vodka and mix it with lemonade, there is a potential for disaster. Add it into a 32 oz cup, and serve iced in the summer, and it is a night to remember all built in!
I would highly recommend stopping in for a vodka lemonade, and bring your hunger if you want some of the ribs!
Dining Room Hours
Friday 11:30am- 1:30am
Saturday 11:30am - 1:30am
Mon-Thu 4:00pm - 10:00pm
Fri-Sat 4:00pm - 11:00pm
Sun 1:00pm -10:00
- Food and Dining
- Business Travel
Sigara Hookah Cafe & Lounge: Take a toke from the Hookah
Sounded good at the time. Goto a bar where they serve different types of flavored tobacco and smoke it out of a hookah, and chill with a bottle of wine. I thought it was pretty cool. Laid back atmosphere, kinda dark. Later at 11 or so the music changed and the belly dancer come out. That was neat and for a minute I felt as though I was in the middle east.
Dress Code: I wouldnt go there looking like a slob. Or all sweaty from humping around the city, but casual dress like what you normally wear when going out on a weekend.
Leg Room: Deep into the big city.
The Leg Room sits among a nice cluster of bars and taverns on Division Street. While trendy, the Leg Room out-classes anything else in the vicinity. Plenty of lounge furniture and neat little fixtures make this place unique. While it is laid back, there's a dance floor, an elevated area for people watching and an enormous island bar. The Leg Room is known for their martinis.
The Leg Room also gained worldwide attention after a customer gave a waitress a $10,000 tip on a $9 check. While later on the credit card charge turned out to be denied, the bar made good on the tip to the waitress. The bar also appears in the movie "Kissing a Fool," and is frequented by many celebrities, especially ones that call Chicago home. Here is a picture of a friend of mine with Jeremy Piven, a Chicago native also known as the evil Dean Pritchett from Old School and Ari from the HBO series Entourage.
LePassage: Anywhere on Rush Street
Earlier in the evening you can enjoy French cuisine at this Gold Coast Restaurant/Nightclub. Chicago scene-sters head here after 11pm for dancing and cocktails. The music is great and often features live perfomers and DJs.
Cover can be expensive, up to $20. you may want to call ahead to get on a VIP list or request a table or banquette for seating.
Dress Code: Club clothes. Guys no jeans no gym shoes
- Luxury Travel
- School Holidays
The Martini Bar at the Millennium Knickerbocker: Generous pour bartenders
We were ever so lucky to have this wonderful bar in our hotel. The Millennium Knickerbocker's Martini Bar is a great way to relax after a busy day. Both times the bartenders were "generous pours" and each made a great Grey Goose Martini. But it was my order of "Della Notte Sambucca" aka black sambucca that raised an eyebrow or two then garnered me a little bow of respect as further inquisition of how I would like that served (neat with 3 coffee beans please) made both these gentleman realise the lady knows how to order a drink! Ahhhhhhhh, a very nice nightcap, you ought to try it, really you should.
A lot of people come and go and it is a great place to people watch especially at the holidays when there are a lot of Christmas/Holiday parties going on and everyone is dressed to the nines.
Dress Code: Although there is no dress code the atmosphere tends to be a bit more upscale so I would not wear a bathing suit, cover up and flip flops (especially in the wintertime) however a nice pair of jeans and a nice sweater is just fine here.
- Women's Travel
- Business Travel
- Food and Dining
Redhead Piano Bar: Piano Bar - of the unstuffy variety
We stumbled across this little piano bar while walking around one night and decided to stop in for a drink. We arrived about an hour before the piano player arrived so it was pretty dead when we got there... not for long though. There was no cover charge, but you were required to check your coat for $2 per coat (including furs) which was a great price for a night of fun. The atmosphere was quiet at first, but soon became very crowded and fun. By 10 o'clock the place was almost at capacity with everyone singing along to some of the greatest hits. This was a nice alternative to the loud dance clubs. The age range in the bar was late 20's all the way to late 70's. The majority of people in the bar were couples (as it was close to Valentine's Day) and groups. This probably isn't a bar to go to if you're looking to hook up with people of the opposite sex, but we had a blast!
Dress Code: Dressy Casual (meaning no ripped jeans or stained t-shirts!)
Ding Bat's: 3 good places all within 60 paces of each other!
If sports are your thing, then Ding Bat's is the place to be. Never will you see something on TV that isn't a live game or ESPN Sportscenter. And if you want to watch our local sports teams and cheer with some loud die-hard loyal fans, you won't have a better experience anywhere.
Ding Bat's might not be as pretty to look at as say Cork & Kerry, but it maintains uniqueness in that it was the first bar to offer the ever popular "Bean Bag" game indoors! The bar also is known to sponsor many local softball teams and also hosts dart and bean bag leagues.
Dress Code: I've seen some guys walk in pretty messed up wearing a t-shirt & boxers (even in winter) but casual is appreciated.
Webster Wine Bar: Wonderful Wine Bar
This small spot serves great appetizers along with an extensive wine list. It is a great place to go in any season as they have a fireplace in winter and outside seating in the summer.
Websters is a little house across from the Webster Theater. Basically, the downstairs area consists of two rooms that contain wooden tables and two couches. The upstairs area is used mostly for private parties. In the front room, they display local artists paintings/photos for sale. The back room is our favorite- especially the big red velvet couch- were we had our first date and where Joe proposed. There is a bar- but I rarely see anyone sitting at it.
The bar was opened in the Fall of 1994 by two burned-out litigation consultants looking for a lifestyle change. They first dreamt of opening a wine bar while sipping on some simple local wine in a dusty old wine bar near the Cathedral in Seville, Spain while on a leave of absence from their consulting jobs.
There is live music (jazz) on Mondays.
Dress Code: You'll see a little of everything here.
They have wonderful cheese flights to accompany your wine choices.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Wine Tasting
Lucky Strike Lanes: Bowling alley bar for Yuppies (Streeterville)
It's commercial, it's slick, and it's definitely for River North or Michigan Avenue yuppies, but the Lucky Strike is still an entertaining and efficient place for a meet-up, an after-movie drink, or a quick few strikes and spares on a dull Wednesday. Good bar menu: really excellent macaroni and cheese. Of course, it has as much Chicago feel to it as your average Bennigan's or Applebees, and it comes with the same corporate cookie-cutter mentality. But - and it's definitely true - sometimes in Chicago you will find yourself looking for a place to go before a film or after the Art Institute, and you won't want to go all the way back to one of the neighborhoods, and you'll be with a big group of people, and some of you will want to drink beer, and some of you will want to eat hamburgers, and some of you will want to people-watch, and you will end up here. Trust me.
(Note: when I was here in July 2008, I was quite disappointed in the beer selection. No local or regional beers on tap, and really, quite a standard range of bottled beers as well. This is not the place to go if you are interested in _quality_ beer drinking!)
- Beer Tasting
Garrett Ripleys: An Upscale Irish Pub with Good Grub
This Irish-feel tavern with a pair of Scottish bartenders is named after the first man in America to be convicted of polygamy. That should tell you something about owners Dominic O'Mahoney, Steve Bringas, and Andreas Antoniou. These three have infused the martini menu with their humor, giving items names like Absolutely Filthy and Garrett's Viagra. Reading the martini list is entertaining enough, but they're also generous and poured with great good cheer by the experienced bartenders. They have a nice selection of beers which includes Boddingtons and the requisite Guinness. A decent selection of wines is also available.
The food is surprisingly good for a bar. The brunch menu is tasty. They are known for their articoke dip. They also have a wonderful chicken and brie sandwich with apples and dijon mayonnaise. The Count is their version of the Monte Cristo, but amazingly it's not greasy.
Dress Code: My fashionable friends pretty much live here. Trendy crowd.
- Luxury Travel
Ralph Lauren's: Polo Bar? (NMA)
Ralph Lauren does bars? Well, he's giving it a go. Apparently this is a prototype for what could be a nationwide chain. (Oh, great, just what we need!)
This is actually a small restaurant/bar which serves the classic Americana food items all gussied up and prettified, in much the same way that Ralph Lauren clothes do. But I really did like the small size of the bar - only about 20 seats! Of course, you'll pay for the luxury of intimacy - it's just off tourist laden Michigan Avenue, and they don't want to make this place into a substitute for those who couldn't get into the Cheesecake Factory, say.
Expensive! Oh my. It can be fun if you want to hob-nob with the G & G set. But bring your Visa!
Dress Code: Ralph Lauren label, preferably
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