When Sound Bar opened it was hailed as the ultimate club in the city, a place that would suddenly make Chicago to clubbing what Berlin is to techno. Now, it's pretty much like every other big downtown club: defined by a slew of suburbanites, a minimum $20 cover on the weekends and $8 mixed drinks that taste like water. Still, it prevents itself from falling into obscurity by having an awesome sound system and bringing in well-known international DJs (usually in the techno and trance genres).
The two-level club presents a bit of a Lego feel in its four color-coded rooms, each dressed in coordinating swanky furniture. The downstairs is split into three areas, with red and orange rooms enclosed in glass and separated by a dance floor backed by a DJ playing top 40 hip-hop, pop and R&B. In an appropriately enviable move, those who want to party in privacy head to the very secluded VIP green room. Each room boasts its own bar to cut down on aimless wandering for drinks, and there's also an additional smaller yellow bar.
When the big acts raise the roof, they wisely do so on the second floor. The DJ booth is slightly elevated and set perfectly above the white- and purple-tinged dance floor to allow club patrons a good look at who's spinning. On the night we visited the area was practically empty, as the crowd remained downstairs; people can only take so many laser lights and fog emissions in one DJ set.
Note: Sound Bar now has a heated sidewalk smoking section. You must get a wristband if you want to get back in the club after your cigarette, though.
Centerstage Reviewer: Maya Henderson