What 8 a.m. scientific session? Paint the town red with AuntMinnie

2002 11 14 11 40 23 706

To pilfer a phrase or two from dance hall diva Alicia Bridges, do you love the nightlife? Do you got to boogie? On the disco round, perhaps? Then you should have no problem keeping yourself entertained during your stay in Chicago.

AuntMinnie.com polled our fun-loving users, as well as our hard-working yet festive editorial staff, as to the best after-hours spots in town. Whether your poison is drinking, dancing, or simply dilly-dallying, somewhere in the Windy City, there’s a barstool with your name on it.

1043 N Rush St.
Monday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m.- midnight
Sunday, noon -10 p.m.

A live piano player or jazz trio performs in the bar on most nights. Enjoy classic southern and northern Italian cuisine in Carmine’s restaurant. Try to keep all Tony Soprano references to a minimum.

2002 11 13 11 43 25 706 B.L.U.E.S
2519 N. Halsted
Sunday-Friday, 8 p.m.-2 a.m.
Saturday, 8 p.m.-3 a.m.

A little more low-key than Kingston Mines, this blues bar has been around since 1979. Local Chicago notables such as Magic Slim and Otis Clay play regularly at this comfy club, which seats about 150, so prepare to get friendly.

632 N. Dearborn
Sunday-Friday, 5 p.m.-4 a.m.
Saturday, 5 p.m.-5 a.m.

Merlin himself couldn’t have conjured up a more exciting place: Excalibur is a 60,000-square- foot, three-story granite castle that serves up dancing, a restaurant, pool tables, an oxygen bar, and video games. Depending on what inspires you to shake your groove thang, the first floor Cabaret club spins a musical mix from the ’70s through the ’90s. Meanwhile, at Club X on the second floor, anything goes from hip-hop to salsa.

Get Me High Lounge
Martini bar
1758 Honore St. 2002 11 13 12 15 07 706
Sunday-Friday until 2 a.m.
Saturday until 3 a.m.

The gimmick at this lounge is that the whole place is lit up solely with candles -- can you say romantic? The midnight blue décor and overstuffed furniture enhance the intimate atmosphere. Although it’s a little out of the way in Bucktown, the Get Me High Lounge is a grand place to relax with a martini and bask in that old candlelight glow.

Gibson’s Bar & Steakhouse
1028 N. Rush St.
Monday-Sunday, 3 p.m.-2 a.m

An AuntMinnie.com user put it mostly succinctly: "Best steak house in town plus a really fun bar." However, he warned that it could be a bit crowded. Then again, what else would you expect from a steakhouse that is populated by the rich and beautiful? With its red leather banquettes and hardwood floors, Gibson’s is the epitome of old school.

Harry’s Velvet Room
56 W. Illinois
312-527-5600 2002 11 13 12 18 14 706
Monday-Friday, 5 p.m.-4 a.m.
Saturday, 7 p.m.-5 a.m.
Sunday, 8 p.m.-2 a.m.

Known as a swanky cigar lounge, Harry’s has broadened its horizons and become a favorite haunt for those with a bit of dance fever. On Fridays, disc jockeys Hello Kitty and Apsara's Dreaming mellow out with ambient down-tempo grooves. But Harry’s is still one "smoky" joint and denizens can enjoy a scrumptious appetizer or dessert before lighting up that Macanudo.

Piano bar/disco
1007-1009 N. Rush St.
Monday-Friday, 3 p.m.-2 a.m.
Saturday, 1 p.m.-3 a.m.
Sunday, 5 p.m.-2 a.m.

Named after Frank Sinatra’s dearly departed bodyguard, the two-floors at Jilly’s couldn’t be more diverse: On the street level is a sophisticated piano bar, focusing on big band, swing, and the blue-eyed crooner’s classics. Downstairs is a ’70s style disco. Jilly’s features a substantial menu of fine scotches and whiskeys.

Kingston Mines
2548 N. Halsted
Sunday-Friday, 8 p.m.-4 a.m.
Saturday, 8 p.m.-5 a.m. 2002 11 13 12 21 42 706

Described as a rough, raucous joint, Kingston Mines kicks it every night with live music. Established in 1968, Kingston Mines specializes in Chicago blues; house acts include Charlie Love & the Silky Smooth Blues Band and Sam Cockrell with the Groove. Described by an AuntMinnie.com user as "hopping."

The Lodge Tavern
21 W. Division St.
Monday-Thursday, 2 p.m.-4 a.m.
Friday, noon-4 a.m.
Saturday-Sunday, noon -5 a.m.

Situated in the notorious party haven of Rush and Division Streets, the Lodge was built in 1957, making it the oldest public house in the area. The Old English-style façade is quirkily nestled underneath a modern steel and glass skyscraper. Be sure to appreciate the artistic quality of the discarded Winchester peanut hulls that litter the floor. The number of "very tall men and women" who frequent the Lodge struck an AuntMinnie.com user as particularly interesting.

The Lounge at Joy-Blue
Martini bar 2002 11 13 12 33 28 706
1401 W. Irving Park
Tuesday-Saturday, opens at 5 p.m.
Sunday-Monday, opens at 7 p.m.

A neighborhood gathering spot forms the middle section of this three-part establishment; the main bar is a casual space outfitted with a particularly impressive bar front. In The Lounge, martinis are mixed up in a calmer enclave. Head to the Blue Room for a little pool. A poetry reading is on tap every Wednesday night.

2002 11 13 12 24 23 706 The Redhead Piano Bar
16 W. Ontario
Sunday-Friday, 7 p.m.-4 a.m (5 a.m. on Saturday)

Dress to impress and order up one of Wendy’s Dark Side Martinis if you want to have a nifty time at this juke joint. Musical selections at The Redhead Piano Bar include standards, pop, rock, jazz, and swing. The bar also offers an extensive cigar collection for your puffing pleasure.

Navy Pier
700 E. Grand Ave. 2002 11 13 12 29 23 706
Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Sunday-Thursday, 5-10 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 5 p.m.-11 p.m.

The AuntMinnie.com user who recommended this waterfront establishment praised the "spectacular view of the Chicago skyline." The nautical theme dining room also overlooks Lake Michigan. All in all, a great place to savor a glass of wine and take in the cityscape.

Rock Bottom Brewery
1 W. Grand Ave.
Dining room, daily, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.
Bar, daily, 11:30-1:30 a.m. 2002 11 13 12 31 18 706

If you enjoy hanging with the young and upwardly mobile, then this is the place for you. It’s also your kind of pub if you truly appreciate a hand crafted, award-winning beer. Indeed, one AuntMinnie.com staff editor (we’ll let you figure out which one) is partial to a tall, frosty post-meeting glass of an in-house brew known as Erik the Red.

For more information on Chicago bars and nightclubs, visit Bars Online Chicago, Center Stage Chicago, Ace Places and Rush and Division.

By Shalmali Pal
AuntMinnie.com staff writer
November 18, 2002

Copyright © 2002 AuntMinnie.com

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