by Kimberly Peiffer - 51 Reviews - 84 List
When it's a trendy night out in Chicago that you crave, look no further than River North and its bars. This popular up-and-coming neighborhood just south of the Gold Coast has been getting a fair share of attention for its ever-growing population of Chicago hot spots. When you're looking for the latest "it" bar for a cocktail and a good time, a trip to a River North bar or club will fit your fancy. (Photo: Sub 51)
Updated: September 02, 2010
You wouldn't necessarily know since it's so dark in here, but well-heeled young socialites are always clambering to get into this late-night spot hidden in the downstairs level of restaurant Hub 51. The cocktails are flowing, the crowd is good-looking and the dancing will last all night.
A great place to meet a touchy-feely stranger, this hard-core dance club is hidden and hardly marked, but once you find it, you might also find that it's hard to resist stopping by every weekend for the non-stop party atmosphere and attention-getting revelers.
When it's impossible to fight the urge to belt out a tune, there's no place more satisfying for karaoke than this staple River North bar. The song list is extensive and the crowd--a mix of talented song birds and not-so-gifted (but very drunk) screamers--means there will never be a dull moment.
Dudes flock to this multi-level sports bar to catch games on the big screen, grab a bite of sophisticated bar food and swoon over the ladies. Plus, the different levels mean that if you meet a stage-five clinger on the first floor, you can more easily hide from him or her one floor up.
Dueling pianos and a lot (emphasis on a lot) of bachelorette parties means non-stop fun at this River North piano bar. Don't be surprised to spot pink feather boas, inappropriate paraphernalia in the shape of male body parts and many, many over-served patrons. This is surely the spot of some incriminating photos.
This upscale sports bar is the perfect spot for catching a game on the flatscreen or enjoying a drink with friends. The day scene is casual, with Theory serving up sandwiches and specials. By night, you'll find a mix of youngsters who have probably also visited neighboring English and Rockit before stopping in for yet another nightcap.
One of the many perks at Bull & Bear is the serve-yourself beer taps. Groups looking for a truly unique night out reserve one in advance and lounge all night while serving themselves beer like they were sitting in their own living room (you still score a hot cocktail waitress to monitor your intake and get you fresh glasses).
Most people don't even realize this tiny spot in the basement of Mexican restaurant Mercadito exists, but for the select group who knows it's there, Double A offers that exclusive VIP feel with its small space, limited number of tables and dark, hidden location. Why does that make it cool? Because not every schmuck off the street can find it, duh.