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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  • 1. Berlin Nightclub

    Lakeview | Dance Clubs

    A multicultural, pansexual dance club near the Belmont El station, Berlin has progressive electronic dance music and fun themed nights (Madonna...Read More

  • 2. Slippery Slope

    Logan Square | Dance Clubs

    With its giant dance floor, craft cocktails, and dim, red-hued lighting, Slippery Slope has brought a cool, clubby vibe to Logan Square. (It...Read More

  • 3. Sound-Bar

    River North | Dance Clubs

    Sound-Bar is a labyrinth of nine bars, each with a unique design and color scheme (some even serve matching colored cocktails). Feel like dancing...Read More

  • 4. Spy Bar

    River North | Dance Clubs

    Image is everything at this subterranean spot with a brushed stainless-steel bar and exposed-brick walls. The slick, stylish crowd hits the...Read More

  • 5. The Underground

    River North | Dance Clubs

    Unmarked entrances, servers clad in military outfits, and artillery-case cocktail tables create the illusion of an underground bunker. Sounds...Read More

  • 6. Transit

    West Loop | Dance Clubs

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

  • 7. Castle

    River North | Dance Clubs

    Castle won't win any prizes for breaking new ground, but this River North nightclub complex, carved out of the Romanesque fortress that was...Read More

  • 8. Crobarthe Nightclub

    Near North Side | Dance Clubs

    Crobar—the Nightclub has scrapped its scruffy, Goth-like decor for a sprawling South Beach makeover complete with a glass-enclosed VIP lounge...Read More

  • 9. Enclave

    River North | Dance Clubs

    Enclave has a loftlike feel and three bars spread out on two floors. Sip a snazzy cocktail and groove to remixed tunes in a grown-up nightclub...Read More

  • 10. Funky Buddha Lounge

    Near North Side | Dance Clubs

    Funky is the operative word for the Funky Buddha Lounge, with its diverse crowd, seductive dance music, and a big metal Buddha guarding the...Read More

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