Hot Blocks: Rush Street

Nickname it what you want. Stereotype it as you see fit. Love it or loath it, Rush Street and its neighboring blocks compose one of our city's most vivacious strips. Tourists populate the streets by day, maxing out their credit cards at lavish boutiques and pricey eateries. Come nightfall, things get interesting as gussied-up locals and out-of-towners converge, filter through swanky restaurants and eventually pack into clubs and lounges, where the beats thump till the wee hours. Want in on the action? Check out our top dining and nightlife picks for this unapologetically vociferous `hood. (Photo: Dublin's)

Updated: December 27, 2009

Restaurants Near Rush Street


Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse - Chicago

1028 N Rush St, Chicago, IL 60611

Corporate card-toting businessmen and well-heeled locals mingling over martinis and red meat consistently pack this flashy carnivore's paradise. Buttery steaks, traditional sides of football-sized baked potatoes, and gluttonous desserts, such as the chocolate mousse pie--a gargantuan mound of chocolate mousse resting atop chocolate cookie crumble and a sea of chocolate sauce--arrive in eye-popping portions.


Le Colonial

937 N Rush St, Chicago, IL 60611

French-Vietnamese fare and sultry surroundings evoke the ambience of 1920s Saigon at this elegant eatery. Downstairs, affluent diners bask in luxurious surroundings while sampling elegant dishes like grilled trout steamed in a banana leaf and doused in a creamy curry sauce. At the lively upstairs bar, a designer bag-toting younger crowd sips sexy signature cocktails like the lychee martini, concocted with lychee liqueur, Cointreau, lychee puree and fresh lime juice.


Fred's at Barneys

15 E Oak St, Chicago, IL 60611

Famished shoppers take a luxe pit stop at this penthouse eatery, perched atop Barneys New York, where prices are hefty and portions are dainty. Clear lake views dazzle diners while they nosh artisan Neapolitan-style pizzas, entree salads, pastas, gourmet sandwiches and a pasta-heavy main dishes like homemade spinach, mushroom and ricotta-packed ravioli floating in truffled Parmesan broth.


Original Pancake House

22 E Bellevue Pl, Chicago, IL 60611

Diners at this all-day breakfast joint can check their pretense at the door because, unlike its scene-y neighbors, this spot is all about the grub. Still-awake partiers and java-fueled stroller pushers come together (forming lines that sometimes snake out the door) to feast on the Dutch Baby-- a plate-sized, puffy pancake topped with lemon juice and powdered sugar-- and hearty egg dishes.


Bars and Clubs Near Rush Street


Le Passage

937 N Rush St, Chicago, IL 60611

An inconspicuous brick alley and narrow stairway delivers the chicest of the Gold Coast chic to this subterranean nightspot. Inside two separate, jam-packed bars await--an eye candy-filled discotheque and a laid-back (in comparison) culinary cocktail lounge. The latter delivers ritzy, sharable small plates, such as East Coast oysters with Honeycrisp apple and Prosecco gelee, and equally chichi cocktails, including The Nooner with Bourbon black vanilla-infused Navan, fresh ginger, orange bitters and maple syrup.


Dublin Bar & Grill

1050 N State St, Chicago, IL 60610

This come-as-you-are Irish-ish pub proves that it is, in fact, possible to have a low-key night out on Rush Street. Twinkling green lights deliver a cheery ambience that beckons all walks of life. Silver-haired businessmen, young couples and residents of nearby condos populate the U-shaped bar and plentiful booths. And there are no thumping DJ-fabricated tunes, just a jukebox cranking out mellow-volume classics by U2, Nirvana and Fleetwood Mac until 4am, 365 days a year.


Hangge Uppe

14 W Elm St, Chicago, IL 60610

Each weekend night, without fail, an already over-served crowd lines up, waiting impatiently to join the raucous dance party inside. This lively, two-story bar, a neighborhood fixture since the 1970s, is consistently stuffed to the gills with boisterous bachelorette parties, slurring suburbanites and fun-loving locals. Two live DJs spin Top 40 upstairs and '50s through '80s tunes downstairs. Aside from a few breaks to visit the Shot Shack, the crowd keeps dancing till 4am.


Luxbar

18 E Bellevue Pl, Chicago, IL 60611

Downstairs, Luxbar appears cut from the same mold as adjacent bar/eateries; stylish marble detailing and low overhead lighting exudes typical Rush Street elegance. But a quick jaunt up the staircase proves otherwise. On Saturday nights, the upper level morphs into LuxLounge, where a skimpy dress-sporting, all female staff runs the show, busily spinning tunes and delivering flashy cocktails like the black ice--a creamy mix of Hennessy Black, vanilla liqueur and vanilla ice cream.