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Chicago Nightlife

With a variety of entertainment venues, which vary from the boisterous (dance clubs) to the serene (wine bars), Chicago's nightlife swings. Most bars close 0200 Sunday through Friday, and 0300 on Saturday, while some have late-night licenses allowing them to stay open two more hours. Outdoor gardens close at 2300.

Check www.chicagoreader.com,www.cityofchicago.org, or www.metromix.com for comprehensive reviews and details. Useful booking numbers include the Jazz Hotline (tel: +1 312 427 3300). Tickets for rock concerts can be purchased from Ticketmaster (tel: +1 312 559 1212; www.ticketmaster.com).

Bars in Chicago

Gold Star Bar

On the edge of Ukrainian Village and near Wicker Park, this classic dive bar with a tile-fronted façade has a free pool table in the back, and retro touches include a pressed-tin ceiling, ancient wood floors and a jukebox offering punk and alternative favourites.

Address: Ukrainian Village, 1755 W Division Street, Chicago, 60622
Telephone: +1 773 227 8700.

Goose Island Brewpub

This is Chicago's most famous brewery and has over 50 different beers on tap made at its own brewery. Dating back to 1988, the company was set up in order to encourage interest in craft beers and has been such a success that a second location opened in 1999 close to Wrigley Field.

Address: Ranch Triangle, 1800 North Clybourn, Chicago, 60614
Telephone: +1 312 915 0071.
Website: http://www.gooseislandbrewpubs.com

Hopleaf

A laid-back neighbourhood joint, Hopleaf bar in Andersonville has a vast array of Belgian and Midwestern craft brews on tap, and serves up delicious Belgian-inspired pub fare. The mussels are considered by many to be the best in town, and the steak frites aren't bad either. There's a beer garden for warmer months.

Address: Andersonville, 5148 N Clark Street, Chicago, 60640
Telephone: +1 773 334 9851.
Website: http://www.hopleafbar.com

Pops for Champagne

Set in the River North area, this elegant champagne bar offers over 250 champagnes, some by the glass, and creative cocktails made from top-shelf liquors. There's also a seasonally changing menu of small plates designed to accent the drinks (such as oysters and charcuterie). Live jazz performances take place most evenings.

Address: River North, 601 North State Street, Chicago, 60654
Telephone: +1 312 266 7677.
Website: http://www.popsforchampagne.com

Clubs in Chicago

Primary

Open from Tuesday to Saturday and featuring the city's top DJs, this club offers a massive 10m-long (30ft), L-shaped bar, a huge dancefloor and has a reputation for spinning hip tunes.

Address: Near North Side, 5 W Division Street, Chicago, 60610
Telephone: +1 312 888 2471.
Website: http://www.primarychi.com

Spy Bar

With bare walls and barely enough room to bust a move or two, Spy Bar is basement clubbing at its finest. Expect a host of world-class DJs and plenty of local talent too as the musical output sways from house, techno and bass to live acts as well. Just don't expect to leave before 4am.

Address: River North, 646 N Franklin Street, Chicago, 60654
Telephone: +1 312 337 2191.
Website: http://www.spybarchicago.com

Live music in Chicago

Blue Chicago

The place to go to hear live blues in a relaxed, friendly setting, Blue Chicago is small and battered in a cozy kind of way. Expect plenty of traditional blues, a few big names and late last orders. Tickets aren't sold in advance – turn up at the door from 8pm.

Address: River North, 736 North Clark Street, Chicago, 60654
Telephone: +1 312 661 0100.
Website: http://www.bluechicago.com

Elbo Room

At the Elbo Room, sounds range from rock and acid jazz to funk, soul and pop, seven nights a week. With good cocktails, decent local brews and enough bourbons to unbalance a bluesman, this place can get busy, so arrive early.

Address: Lake View, 2871 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, 60657
Telephone: +1 773 549 5549.
Website: http://www.elboroomchicago.com

Green Mill

People from all walks of life gather at the nearly century-old Green Mill to listen to live jazz, blues and big band orchestras, or spin a rare classic from the jukebox. The bar's famous (or infamous) past patrons include Al Capone and Frank Sinatra, it's been featured in movies such as The Untouchables, and is rumoured to be haunted… the venue itself is laid-back, with kitschy décor and rickety chairs set around simple tables.

Address: Sheridan Park, 4802 North Broadway, Chicago, 60640
Telephone: +1 773 878 5552.
Website: http://www.greenmilljazz.com

Classical music in Chicago

Dance in Chicago

Theatres in Chicago

Music and Dance in Chicago

Culture in Chicago

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Featured Hotels

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Ritz-Carlton Chicago

The Ritz has always been a symbol of luxury and the Ritz-Carlton Chicago is no exception. An award-winning dining room, oversized rooms with a view, L'Occitane bath toiletries, state-of-the-art business facilities and 24-hour concierge service are some of the reasons its reputation is deserved.

Four Seasons Hotel Chicago

At the Four Seasons, personal service, attention to detail and elegant appointments are basics. The opulent seventh-floor lobby has a French art deco look, while spacious guest rooms include 1940s French décor and, for viewing stunning city and lake vistas, some have leather window seats. Marble bathrooms are spa-like.

The James

Modern, sleek, compact and comfortable, The James is a nice departure from the big, glitzy chains. The narrow lobby has a clean and clubby look about it as does the adjacent, complimentary business centre and the J Bar. Rooms have minimalist decor, with platform beds and marble bathrooms, as well as a dining niche, plasma TVs and free Wi-Fi.

The Hard Rock Hotel

The staid 1929 Carbon and Carbide Building has been reinvented and is now a sleek hotel. The 383-room, 13-suite, contemporary venue pulsates with musically-themed excitement. Piped-in music and rock & roll memorabilia are everywhere. Cushy leather couches and open space give the lobby a feeling of warmth and comfort. Rooms with zebra wood furnishings are accented in greys, blues, chrome, wood, mirrors and rock'n'roll artwork. Matchless Downtown vistas, flat screen television, and state-of-the-art amenities are standard, as is the business centre and fitness facility.

Embassy Suites Chicago Downtown-Lakefront

Conveniently located between Navy Pier and Michigan Avenue, the modern Embassy Suites meets the needs of the business traveller. Its airy, 17-floor atrium lobby, with fountains and reflecting pool, is just the place to unwind after a busy day. Enclosed glass elevators reveal city and lake views, as do the comfortably furnished, two-room suites, which are standard.

Hotel Felix

One of the best deals in the central area of Chicago, the Felix is a modern hotel with an environmentally friendly rating and lashings of style. Plush rooms are kitted out in shades of cocoa and offer flat-screen TVs, contemporary bathrooms, and handy desk space. Unwind at the hotel's spa, or work out in their state-of-the-art gym. Service is brisk and efficient.