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Chicago's Top 10 : Bars & Clubs

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Unless otherwise stated, bars and clubs are open daily, have a cover charge after 9/10pm, and have DA.


  1. La Pomme Rouge

    La Pomme boasts two salons: Paradis (paradise) features elegant couches, fireplaces, and a Victorian sideboard; Enfer (hell) has fabric-covered walls, dozens of pillows, and the design decadence of an opium den. In the curtained booths of the main room enjoy the extensive list of champagnes and wines and the posh nibbles, such as caviar.

    • 108 W. Kinzie St.

    • 312 245 9555

    • Adm. Fri & Sat

  2. Whiskey Sky

    Nightlife goes sky-high at this intimate club on the 33rd floor of the W. Chicago Lakeshore hotel. Locals and guests mingle among ‘70s retro furnishings while soul and light house music provide the beat (though there’s no dancing) to a backdrop of stunning views.

    • 644 N. Lake Shore Dr

    • 312 255 4463

    • Free

  3. Zebra Lounge

    An illegal speakeasy during Prohibition, this tiny piano bar has stood the test of time and competition, packing in loyal revelers nightly. Zebra prints dominate the décor, and martinis are the drink of choice. Singing along with the pianist to show tunes, torch songs, and oldies is expected .

    Zebra Lounge
  4. Funky Buddha Lounge

    This favorite is easily identified by the fat, happy Buddha statue outside. Inside, a mixed crowd of urban hipsters and young professionals sip everything from beer to bubbly in the low-ceilinged lounge. As the evening unfolds, the dance floor heats up with clubbers grooving to soul, salsa, hip-hop, R&B, house, rap, and reggae.

    • 728 W. Grand Ave.

    • 312 666 1695

  5. Four

    A varied crowd packs the neon-lit two-storey high dancefloor of this off-the-beaten-track club, while local DJs spin techno, rave, and hip-hop. Opt for the signature drink, Four Martini – a blend of four Stoli vodka flavors and a splash of orange juice – while you check out the laser light show under the 4-ft disco ball.

    • 1551 W. Division St.

    • 1 773 235 9100

    • Closed Sun & Mon

  6. Le Passage

    Tucked along an alley and down a flight of stairs is the alluring Le Passage. The candlelit, wood-paneled room is divided by gold-wrapped columns. Velvet chairs are free for lounging early on, but later they’re reserved for big spenders. The dance floor fills up late, with DJs playing pop remixes.

    • 937 N. Rush St.

    • 312 255 0022

    • Closed Sun & Mon

  7. Bin 36

    This lofty space is a triple pleasure, with its high-end restaurant, casual café, and sociable wine bar. The large, zinc-topped oval bar is a lively setting for couples to share conversation and a cocktail, or for singles to mingle. “Wine flights” are a must-try, offering four half-glasses of different, but related, wines .

    Bin 36
  8. Le Bar

    In the beautiful Sofitel Hotel, a fashionable, over-30, mixed crowd fills this lobby lounge after work, lingering until the wee hours. Black-clad servers dispense martinis with scrumptious flavors such as chocolate and raspberry.

    • 20 E. Chestnut St.

    • 312 324 4000

    • Free

    Le Bar
  9. Sonotheque

    This small, aluminum-clad nightclub forgoes dancing, and instead focuses on the pure enjoyment of the music. In fact, every visual aspect here serves to enhance the fantastic audio system: padded walls absorb sound, while the square-cut metal ceiling tiles diffuse it throughout the room. The sonic theme is further complemented by sleek steel and cool gray décor.

    • 1444 W. Chicago Ave.

    • 312 226 7600

    • Adm.

    • charged some nights depending on the DJ

  10. J Bar

    This sleek, luxurious lounge in The James hotel offers signature deconstructed cocktails, such as a Ketel One martini with a vermouth and olive lollipop, or the James – made with Stoli Raz, elderflower and lime juice, served in a martini glass coated in a hard, raspberry candy shell. Modern design, low-slung lounge seating, candlelit cocktail tables, and plasma screens with video art all go to set the swanky scene.

    • 610 N Rush St.

    • 312 660 7200

    • Closed Sun & Mon

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