photo: courtesy of Bridget Cicenia
So, it's been a rough year for many Chicagoans. The murder rate is rising. The economy is tanking. The Cubs choked, again. But you know, there's always one place you can go to get away from all that, a place you know you'll feel safe and secure: home.
Of course, home usually comes with its own set of problems - annoying parents, socially awkward cousins, repressed childhood memories. So before you make that trip back, you might want to loosen up by partying on Thanksgiving Eve (aka Black Wednesday), the biggest bar and club night of the year.
What's better than three hours of vodka drinks and Miller Lite on Black Wednesday? How about gourmet food and a celebrity sighting or two? Ok, we can't promise the star power, but this bar has been known to host some prominent local athletes. It could be worth $25 a ticket to see for yourself what the fuss is all about. The open bar package runs from 6-9 p.m., and there will be specials ($6 Absolut cocktails, $4 Jameson shots, $3 Lemon Drops) all night long. Menu includes deep-fried herbed turkey with Grand Marnier cranberry sauce, hot corn pudding with white goat cheddar cheese, mini bourbon and brown sugar sweet potato pies and more. Get tickets at ChicagoBlackWednesday.com.
Head to Bucktown for a Black Wednesday Beer Fest featuring $5 24-ounce domestic drafts and, of course, $5 turkey legs with sweet potato fries.
Thanksgiving is usually about old traditions, but how about a new one? The Pony picked a fine time to launch its "Honky Tonk Wednesdays" series, which features country tunes all night long courtesy of Slamabama, plus specials including half-price burgers and wings, $3 SoCo & Lime, $3 Jim Beam Black and $3 16-ounce Coors Light cans. There's no cover for the launch event.
What's better than pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving? Pumpkin pie shots the night before. Rockwood Place features all-night drink deals such as $4 pumpkin pie shots, $3 drafts, $4 Jameson and $4 Absoult cocktails. Or go for an inclusive $25 package that includes wine, select beers and spirits. There is no cover.
LaSalle Power Co.
The main floor is open from 4 p.m.-2 a.m. featuring the full regular menu until 1 a.m., including LPC's Thanksgiving Leftovers Sandwich, with roasted turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce on a ciabatta roll with a side of home-style gravy. Doors open on the second floor at 8 p.m. where LPC's resident DJ spins rock, pop and more. Doors open on the third floor at 8 p.m. where the 11th Hour Band plays hip-hop, disco and electro dance starting at 9 p.m.
Work out some of your familial frustrations with live band karaoke at Martini Park. From 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. cover band Rendition will host live band karaoke. Get up your courage with $6 Absolut specialty cocktails.
Division Ale House
Dance your calories away ahead of time with DJ Mister S. and guest DJs spinning new wave, 80s, electro and funk from 9 p.m. on. There's no cover and $3 all drafts and $2.50 chili.
Get your pre-turkey turkey on at O'Donovan's. Bartenders will be serving up special Wild Turkey bourbon cocktails for $4 and Wild Turkey shots for $4. Also available will be a huge jardinière filled with Wild Turkey Balls (maraschino cherries marinated in Wild Turkey bourbon). Other drink specials include $1 off all domestic beer bottles, $5 Grape or Cherry bombs and half-price for most wine bottles.
Kit Kat Lounge and Supper Club
There's turkey legs--and then there's Tina Turner's legs. Celebrate those gorgeous gams as Diva Traci Ross performs throughout the evening as Tina Turner.
10pin Bowling Lounge
The first 10 guests who bowl a turkey (three strikes in a row) will receive a free turkey for Thanksgiving.10pin will also offer $3 Miller Lite bottles.
Want to spend your Black Wednesday a little differently than normal? Head to Carnivale to enjoy live music by the skilled composer and trombonist, Angel Melendez, accompanied by his quartet. Having played at some of the great Chicago venues, including The House of Blues and The Chicago Symphony Center, Angel Melendez has become one of the most recognized Latin musicians in Chicago.
Free appetizers are a great way to begin a night of drinking. Chens Chinese and Sushi is offering half-price martinis and complimentary appetizers for guests who dine in the bar. Complimentary appetizers include maki trays, spring rolls, crabmeat wontons and cold noodle salad.
Hump Day Happy Hour Buffet--need we say more? Black Wednesday specials will include: $2 Miller Lite, MGD, MGD 64 bottles and $3 glasses of Glass Mountain Chardonnay and Merlot from 3 p.m.-1 a.m. The buffet (5-7 p.m.) includes wings, artichoke dip and much more.
Eivissa is offering $4 pearl martinis and $4 skewers.
They say two hands are better than one so four must be better yet, right? Steve Kouba and Dave Roberts from ChicagoDuelingPianos.com will perform at LuxLounge. Attendees will experience a completely unique show, as the audience determines what songs will be performed.
Chicagoans are invited to join Quartino for their monthly wine bash. The bash showcases wine from a particular region or in a particular style and gives Chicagoans a chance to taste select wines for only $20.
Drink it up and possibly win Blackhawk Memorabilia. Raffles and giveaways will be taking place all day (guests must be present to win). Specials include $5 drinks and food specials.
It's tapas for T-day at Tapas Valencia. Enjoy $3 midnight sangria, $2.50 domestic and $3.50 import bottled beers and $2 tapas from select menu.
Duke's Alehouse and Kitchen
Funk up your Thanksgiving at Duke's. For just $5 you can jam out to Barefoot Fred, a versatile band with a rock/funk/bluegrass sound.
Go back to a time where hairspray ruled and leggings weren't just for ladies. In celebration of Black Wednesday, Durty Nellie's will present '80s rock cover band Hairbangers Ball. Cover is $7.
Gibsons Steakhouse Rosemont
Be thankful for free stuff. Start the night out right with a complimentary appetizer buffet from 4-6 p.m. in the bar.
Meson Sabika (Naperville)
Celebrate the night with midnight sangria. Just $3 gets you a midnight sangria (red wine, brandy, triple Sec, gin, fruit juices, blue curacao, topped with fresh fruit) and $2 tapas from select menu which will consist of an array of hot and cold tapas all available for $2 each.
9 p.m.-2 a.m.; $20-$30
This laid-back Lounge's third annual Lights Out Party starts with a private cocktail reception featuring Absolut Boston Black Tea and Elderflower vodka from 9 to 10 p.m., then continues with DJ Timbuk2, recent VH1 Hip-Hop Honors winner for "Best Hip-Hop DJ in the Nation." Drop an extra $10 for three hours of open bar from 9 p.m.-midnight.
Uncle Fatty's Rum Resort
8 p.m.-midnight; $30
It's business as usual at this tropical-themed bar - and by that we mean a lot of partying. "Tank'dgiving Eve" includes four hours of premium open bar for those who wish to partake, as well as entertainment from DJ Risky Bizness and high-energy cover band The Seth Bradley Personnel. Also of note: Uncle Fatty's will introduce its four-gallon (!) fishbowl service, available for $10 per person.
It's up to you to decide the lush status you want to enjoy. Just having a couple? Go a la carte. Doing it up big? Try the $30 call beverage inclusive package (offered from 9 p.m.- midnight). The bar's resident DJ will be spinning pop, rock, top 40 and more from 7 p.m.-2 a.m.
Mac's American Pub
4 p.m.-2 a.m.
Start your meat-fest early with an $8.75 meatloaf dinner (comes with gravy, mashed potatoes and asparagus). Wash it down with $3 pints of microbrew drafts and $3 pumpkin pie and nutty pumpkin shots. Mac's adds a DJ to the Wednesday night lineup spinning a mix of styles from 9 p.m.-2 a.m. There is no cover.
5 p.m.-2 a.m.
Meat on a stick? Check. Drink specials? Check. DJ? Check. Moe's has everything you need for a well-rounded Black Wednesday. The DJ spins from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. with no cover charge.
John Barleycorn (Schaumburg)
Sometimes one turkey dinner just isn't enough. Get a jump on your turkey day gorging with as $15.95 turkey dinner at John Barleycorn Schaumburg. The meal includes oven-roasted turkey with all the trimmings. Wash it down with a $3 glass of house wine and follow it up with a $5 slice of house-made pumpkin pie. Drink specials include $5 bottless of New Belgium Hoptober, $5 drafts of Leinenkugel's Fireside Nut Brown and $5 hot rum apple cider. At 9 p.m. join the DJ for some dancing. Cover is $10.
John Barleycorn Wrigleyville
5 p.m.-2 a.m.
There's no cover at the bar that redefines "crazy night out." If you're looking to make memories (or, rather, forget memories) this is the place to be. Helping you in your journey to fun times are $3 well drinks and domestic drafts. Snack on 25-cent chicken wings, $1 sliders and $8.95 all-you-can-eat fish and chips.
9 p.m.-2 a.m.
DJs Alex Rage and Will Galvan provide the tunes for a party at SUB 51, the restaurant's lower-level club.
Have you been watching the new "Melrose Place" on CW? If not, you'd better bone up quickly, as one of the show's steam stars, Colin Egglesfield, will be the main attraction at this Black Wednesday event. The actor is promoting his SHOUT OUT! T-shirt line, and attendees will not only enjoy a meet-and-gree with him (from 7-8 p.m.) but can also customize their own shirts with Thanksgiving-themed messages. The party that also includes $7 cocktails, $175 Absolut bottles and chair massages by Juvenesse Spa.
8 p.m.-2 a.m.
Cover band Rendition will host live band karaoke while you sip $6 Absolut specialty cocktails all night at this flashy bar in River North.
Donate a can of food to this Wicker Park bar and you'll get a free piece of chocolate cake as a reward. You can also purchase turkey quesadillas and sweet potato hashbrowns in addition to the full menu of food and drink.
Be thankful for Centerstage Chicago's Thanksgiving Guide
Get Cookin' ~ Eat Out
Buy a Pie ~ Volunteer and Give Back
Eat at O'Hare ~ Munch Near Midway