Chicago has so much nightlife that you might have to schedule an extra day just to recover. From dance clubs to swanky lounges, you'll find it all — and more — so rest up! Use this primer on late night fun for the 21+ crowd.
If you're in the mood to mingle, join the party at Studio Paris. Located above the restaurant Paris Club, Studio Paris boasts impressive lounge seating under a retractable glass roof that opens to the Chicago cityscape. Take in music spun by guest DJs from around the world, all while enjoying a cocktail at the 25-foot bar.
One of the city's premiere scenes, The Underground is always a crowd favorite. Complete with celebrities, big-name DJs and well-dressed crowds, this River North fixture has garnered accolades like "Hottest Night Club" by Entertainment Weekly, "Chicago's Sexiest Bar/Nightclub" by Victoria's Secret and "Best Music Venue" by Time Out Chicago. Open until 5:00am Saturdays (and 4:00am the rest of the week), it's the perfect way to round out your night.
SUB 51, a private lounge below the restaurant HUB 51, becomes an exclusive nightclub on weekends where you can hear resident DJs spin beats that will have you dancing all night long. Or make it full circle and come back for brunch upstairs. There's a 10% discount for anyone that shows up in their pajamas, or better yet, a bigger discount if you're still in last night's outfit.
Newest to the late night landscape, Shay Chicago brings upscale sass to a busy stretch on Ontario Street. Glam mirrors, sexy lighting and fancy small bites appeal to the ladies, while raised banquettes and bottle service make everyone feel VIP. Sister spot Cuvée Ultra Lounge is an upscale knockout where gracious hosts keep the flutes of champagne flowing. Pass through the private alley entrance and you'll be treated to a full menu of bubbly — from bubbletinis and bellinis to 15L bottles of Veuve — and an intimate setting where glass spheres cascade from the beautiful chandeliers.
Chicago's hotels get in on the fun too. J.Parker at Hotel Lincoln, ROOF at theWit Hotel, the Godfrey's I|O Urban Roofscape, Raffaello's Drumbar and Vertigo Sky Lounge atop the Dana Hotel take the revelry to new heights.
The Mid, located in Chicago's West Loop in the booming Fulton Market District, is a nightlife mashup: the comforts and decor of an upscale lounge combine with the unique grit of a live music venue. The Shrine has made a name for itself and its South Loop digs as the place to catch the finest in live Afro-beat, hip-hop, R&B, house and reggae. As a dance club, the packed house gets moving to the hottest lineup of national and international DJs. And the Chicago club scene would not be complete without long-time favorites like Y Bar — where "luxury meets house" and is combined with merenge, bachata or hip-hop depending on the night of the week — and Spy Bar, a 20-year-old institution.
Untitled does it all — cocktails in a throwback lounge setting (there are five bars and fun whiskey creations are a focus), live entertainment (jazz to burlesque) and late night dancing. Other popular haunts in the River North circuit include Hubbard Inn, Rockit and Gilt Bar. And for très chic surroundings, find your way through the hidden alleyway to RM Champagne in the West Loop. It's quite the looker — both indoors and out on their luxe cobblestone patio.
Looking to venture to one of Chicago's happening neighborhoods? Check out Wicker Park's Debonair Social Club, both sensual and gritty, it mixes the hipster vibe of the neighborhood with sleek sophistication. Bordering on West Town/Goose Island/Bucktown is ESTATE Ultra Bar, where the late-night gathering moves outdoors onto the StarDeck in the summer months.
Ladies looking for a spot... consider Chicago's Beauty Bar. Step back in time to this 1960s salon-style bar complete with manicures, martinis, hair-dos and late-night dancing. Sip your cocktail from a retro dryer chair or head to the dance floor.
Or head north to Wrigleyville's historic Smart Bar dropping beats in the neighborhood for nearly 30 years. Host to many after-party shows for the Metro (the upstairs live music venue), Smart Bar is a space for rock and dance fans to mix and explore each other's music.
Whatever your style, Chicago is sure to deliver on a fun night out.