Chicago Nightlife

Chicago's entertainment varies from loud and loose to sophisticated and sedate. You'll find classic Chicago corner bars in most neighborhoods, along with trendier alternatives like wine bars and lounges. The strains of blues and jazz provide much of the backbeat to the city's groove, and an alternative country scene is flourishing. As far as dancing is concerned, take your pick from cavernous clubs

to smaller spots with DJs spinning dance tunes; there's everything from hip-hop to swing. Wicker Park/Bucktown and River North have the hottest nightlife, but prime spots are spread throughout the city.

Shows usually begin at 9 pm; cover charges generally range from $3 to $20, depending on the day of the week (Friday and Saturday nights are the most expensive). The list of blues and jazz clubs includes several South Side locations: be cautious about transportation here late at night, because some of these neighborhoods can be unsafe. Drive your own car or ask the bartender to call you a cab.

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Fodor's Choice

Area

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Lakeview and the Far North Side 36

Lincoln Park, Wicker Park, and Bucktown 33

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Lincoln Park 9

Near North and River North 33

The Loop, Including West Loop and South Loop 7

Pilsen, Little Italy, and Chinatown 1

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Pilsen 1

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Category

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Bars/ Pubs 57

Brewpubs/ Beer Gardens 1

Cafes–Nightlife 5

Comedy Clubs 6

Dance Clubs 6

Music Clubs 32

Piano Bars/ Lounges 6

Wine Bars–Nightlife 1

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Best For

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Gay and Lesbian 8

Trendy 2

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Chicago Nightlife

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  • Fodor's Choice

Blues Heaven Foundation

  • Music Clubs

For a walk into history, stop by the Blues Heaven Foundation, which occupies the former home of the legendary Chess Records. Breathe...

Buddy Guy's Legends

  • Music Clubs

Relocated from its original location a few doors down, Buddy Guy's Legends has a superb sound system, excellent sightlines, and more...

Kitty O'Shea's

  • Bars/Pubs

This handsome spot in the Chicago Hilton and Towers is an authentic Emerald Isle pub with all things Irish, including live music seven...

ROOF on theWit

  • Bars/Pubs

One of the city's hottest perches, ROOF occupies the 27th floor of theWit Hotel. The outdoor space entices with fire pits and panoramic...

Red Kiva

  • Piano Bars/Lounges

Red Kiva serves up cocktails, martinis, and draft beers—along with house-made flat-bread pizzas—in a cozy, candlelit lounge centered...

The Aviary

  • Bars/Pubs

Wednesday through Sunday, Chef Grant Achatz applies his cutting-edge culinary style to cocktails at this West Loop bar, adjacent to his...

Transit

  • Dance Clubs

Despite being hidden away underneath the El tracks in a spooky stretch west of downtown, Transit is wildly popular with young clubgoers.

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