Flashing lights and the glimmer of disco balls shoot across The MID's two-story interior as upwards of 800 people unleash inhibitions to the house beats of resident DJ's Zebo, Nathan Scott, and Gus Karas. Across the dancefloor, neon lights frame each of the Meatpacking District hot spot's three full bars as waiters shuttle drinks to club-goers nestled up to table and booths. High-octane beats reverberate off the exposed brick walls and dark baroque wall patterns, and a VIP room with its own bar, along with stunning views of the Chicago skyline add to the upscale nightclub's trendy atmosphere. When not hosting fashion shows and holiday events, the MID puts on curates an impressive roster of shows, including appearances by Talib Kweli and DJ Shadow.
Initially conceived as a one-off event in 2010, The Smoker's Club has since expanded, presenting fans with tours that unite skilled rappers and expert beat makers. One of the original members of the Wu-Tang Clan, Grammy-winning wordsmith Method Man spouts off dexterous rhymes in a gravely voice obtained by chugging asphalt smoothies every day for breakfast. Curren$y gently cradles ears with laid-back flow, and frequent Smoker's Club collaborators such as Big K.R.I.T., Smoke DZA and Fiend buoy the evening with additional verbal fireworks. Rattling bass shakes the historic Congress Theater's gold-domed interior and main floor as fans dance and weave through the crowds to try to snag an autographed poster, CD, or security guard.
At the Zagat-rated Mez? Tapas Lounge, executive chef Antonio Lopez laces flavorful small plates with international flair by incorporating ingredients and influences from across the globe. Colorful portraits beam down from exposed-brick walls as servers transport Caribbean fish tacos, Asian saut?ed prawns, and traditional Spanish tapas such as bacon-wrapped dates and ceviche to waiting tables. Sangria, made in-house from top-shelf liquors, quenches thirsts without the stress of fermenting your own grape juice in a pocket-sized oak barrel.
Vivo brings Randolph Street Market District diners Italian cuisine that's simple yet high quality, like the relativistic wave equations of Ettore Majorana. Begin your tour of Vivo's dinner menu with the wood-grilled asparagus and roasted peppers appetizer ($8) or the bruschetta starter ($8) before opting for a pasta entree, such as the rigatoni ($17) with Italian sausage and peas or the gnocchi ($17) with parmesan cream and black-truffle essence. Carnivores wishing to break in their new teeth will make molars merry with the grilled lamb chops ($35) with sautéed spinach and roasted potatoes, whereas old-timey deep-sea explorers can safely remove copper diving helmets for consumption of the wood-grilled Atlantic salmon ($28) with vegetables, or sautéed sea scallops ($30) with sautéed spinach and mashed potatoes. Vivo also offers ravioli, fish, and meat entrees that change daily. An extensive wine list includes both domestic and international labels.
At The Aviary, “the drinks are striving for a from-the-ground-up perfection,” reveals the Wall Street Journal. As much should be expected from Grant Achatz, the world-renowned culinary talent who masterminded this envelope-pushing cocktail experience. The attention to detail is seen throughout: nearly 20 varieties of ice are used to craft drinks that are served in light-bulb-shaped glasses and smoke-filled bags.
Michael Morton, son of Chicago steakhouse legend Arnie Morton, is the driving force behind N9NE Steakhouse, a restaurant serving up traditional prime-aged beef and seafood worthy of a Michelin recommendation. New York–style sirloins and bone-in filets share menu space with organic irish salmon and the impressive crustacea platter—a mélange of crab legs, lobster, shrimp, and a trio of bivalves atop mounds of shaved ice. The bar menu, on the other hand, offers more casual nibbles, such as pairs of mini burgers, tacos, and pulled pork sliders for $10 a pop. N9NE's Chicago location shares some of its Vegas-style swank with its sister restaurant in the Palms Casino Resort, making it a frequent hangout for sports stars and other celebs. President Obama held one of his 2012 fundraiser dinners here, where supporters dined on juicy morsels of steak.