Chicago’s Nightclubs

Chicago is a nightlife town and no matter what you are looking for, you’ll find some kind of bar or club that fits your style. We’ve got dive bars, beer bars, speakeasy style cocktail bars, jazz clubs, gay bars, dance clubs and more. If you’re looking for a see-and-be-seen, velvet rope, bottle service, kind of dance club, here are some recommended places.

Smart Bar
On weekends, come for the world-class DJs that guest spin Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. The sound system is excellent, and the house music will get you dancing, all without some of the pretense that comes with other nightclubs.

Spy Bar
River North’s SpyBar brings in come great DJ talent to get the scenester crowd moving.  While some says it’s a bit on the pretentious side – what with the bottle service and VIP areas – there’s no denying that it’s one of the best spots in Chicago to see a celebrity DJ.

People either love crobar, or they hate it. With a $20 cover and scantily clad go-go dancers entertaining the crowd, it definitely caters to a certain kind of club-goer. If that’s you, you’ll love it, but if not, don’t waste your money.

Sound Bar
Another $20 cover club, Sound Bar books mostly local DJs and offers the standard assortment of what some would call overprice drinks. They do often have specials and extend discounts to large groups though, so if you are in town for a girls weekend or bachelor/bachelorette party, it could be worth checking out.


Located in the basement of restaurant Hub 51, Sub 51 requires table reservations for entry, giving it an exclusive, but never-crowded feel. On Thursday night, national DJ’s guest, which on weekends, some of Chicago’s best play top 40 and electronic dance music.

Photo by Bucky Skeel