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. Big Chicks

    Far North Side | Bars/Pubs

    In the Uptown area of the Far North Side, Big Chicks is a striking alternative to the Halsted strip, with a funky crowd that appreciates the...Read More

  • 2. Charlie's

    Lakeview | Bars/Pubs

    A country-and-western dance spot, Charlie's lets you two-step nightly to achy-breaky tunes (club music takes over after midnight). It's mostly...Read More

  • 3. Circuit

    Lakeview | Bars/Pubs

    The biggest dance club in Boystown is a stripped-down hall energized by flashing lights, booming sounds, and a partying crowd. Take a break...Read More

  • 4. Hydrate

    Lakeview | Bars/Pubs

    Hydrate combines a relaxed front lounge with a late-night, high-energy dance floor in the back. Weekly events include drag shows. ...Read More

  • 5. North End

    Lakeview | Bars/Pubs

    A sports bar with a twist, the North End is a favorite spot to watch the big game or play some pool. Later at night, it has more of a typical...Read More

  • 6. Roscoe's Tavern and Cafe

    Lakeview | Bars/Pubs

    A longtime favorite in the heart of Boystown, Roscoe's Tavern has a lot to offer its preppy patrons, including a jam-packed front bar, a dance...Read More

  • 7. Sidetrack

    Lakeview | Bars/Pubs

    Focusing on a different theme every night of the week, Sidetrack broadcasts videos on TV screens that never leave your sight. Attractive...Read More

  • 8. The Closet

    Lakeview | Bars/Pubs

    This compact dive bar—one of the few that caters to lesbians, though it draws gay men, too—can be especially lively after 2 am when most other...Read More

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