Dance, music and comedy clubs among the best in Chicago nightlife

Nightlife is no longer just an ear-splitting dance club or bar bursting with weekend revelers - although there are still plenty of those from which to choose in Chicago. Evening diversion is as diverse as the city itself, with destinations specializing in  comedy, arcade games, creative karaoke and live jazz, blues, folk and rock 'n' roll sets.

Explore Chicago nightlife downtown at The Underground Chicago, still one of the city’s hottest dance clubs, or a little farther north in Old Town there's the brand new The Optima as well as the historic yet throughly current The Second City Theater Chicago. You might think it's difficult to lampoon the news that already absurd but the "cast delivers a show that’s surreal, musical, maniacal, and utterly entertaining all at the same time." Don't forget about the on-site UP Comedy Club hosting nationally known comics and improv comedy shows. 

For a lively lounge experience, head to the landmark Green Mill Cocktail Lounge for jazz or Rosa’s Lounge for blues. Beauty Bar provides a kitchy, fun and budget-friendly place to dance and Logan Square is not cooling off - visit Slippery Slope for an any-night-of-the-week party, The Whistler for live performances or how about Heavy Feather for a laid back 1970's fern bar vibe?  The Old Town School of Folk Music is an intimate, comfortable room presenting an array of genres in a great Chicago neighborhood. For others, great beer, good friends and free-to-play vintage arcade games make the ideal night out - those folks head to Replay Lincoln Park. 



The Optima, Old Town's new dining and entertainment space, aims for a glamorous vintage atmosphere on two floors. Nibble steak and seafood, shareables like pierogies, pretzels and cheese and hummus in the 100-seat main dining room which has a...  Read More

The Underground Chicago
Photo courtesy of The Underground


The Underground nightclub takes its tenor of exclusivity seriously with a military theme and unmarked basement level entrance. Those who live for a see-and-be-seen atmosphere feel right at home here. Bottle service and celebrity sightings are...  Read More

West Town
Beauty Bar
Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of Beauty Bar


This dance club that also serves as a boozy salon is a great place for a manicure, martini, and dance party. The kitchy 60s decor includes glittery paint on the walls and salon furniture that would set your mom's heart (and hair)...  Read More



For the other half of the world that doesn't care for stilettos, musky cologne, packed dance floors and endless selfies, there's Replay Lincoln Park, a popular vintage arcade bar offering weekly themed trivia and Psycho Bingo. Well, why not? The...  Read More



Rosa's Lounge, circa 1984, is not a 21st century re-creation homage to family owned blues bars - it's the real deal. When you want to hear great live blues without pretension but plenty of sincerity - this is your destination. Order a drink...  Read More

Green Mill Cocktail Lounge
Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of Choose Chicago


Inspired by Clark Monroe's Uptown House in 1940's Harlem, the Green Mill attracts tourists and jazz aficionados nightly. Once a hangout of Al Capone, Charlie Chaplin and Gloria Swanson, the Green Mill has what modern clubs lack - character. It...  Read More



Don't let the name of the place fool you - while it has folky performers, this excellent, intimate concert hall offers shows ranging from African music to a full Cuban salsa band (with dancing!). The venue recently hosted Steve Earle, Lucinda...  Read More

Second City
Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of Choose Chicago


Who doesn't need a few laughs during the cultural chaos that is life in the USA? The world's premier comedy theatre and school of improvisation, Second City, pokes fun at boomers, millennials, media, and the *&%#@! going on in DC. Everyone...  Read More



No matter what night of the week you ache to get out, The Whistler has your back - and brain. There's a live show every night: it could be jazz, rock, electronic, country, soul, Movieoke (karaoke to movie clips), film screenings, DJ sets,...  Read More



Visiting the Logan Square address at is actually a two-fer. Walk in downstairs and Slippery Slope promises a party night of dancing, DJs, a great beer selection, cocktails in bottles, Skee-Ball and raucous fun. Drinks are inexpensive, cash and...  Read More


Meet Jacky Runice

Born in Bucktown when bulletproof was a home safety choice and not a coffee order, Jacky Runice has been knocking around Chicago as a professional print, online and broadcast journalist and...  More About Jacky