For nearly 40 years, the Civic Opera Barber Shop has offered straightforward men's grooming services inside the Civic Opera building, with all its gold-leafed art-deco finery. A red, white, and blue barber pole outside the salon beckons potential customers while representing the three colors of human hair. Within, plush burgundy thrones elevate heads to the ideal styling height, giving the veteran barber full sway over every strand as he shaves stubble with straight razors and hot lather, cuts hair into no-nonsense styles, and trims back beards to distinguish man from wolfman.
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.
To keep the spirit of its musical roots ever near, House of Blues Houston keeps a metal box of mud from the Delta Mississippi beneath its stage and proudly displays the traditional crazy quilt. As the only venue in the revered chain to be built vertically rather than free floating, House of Blues Houston stands as a pillar of entertainment in the Houston Pavilions complex. The hot spot’s Bronze Peacock Room commemorates Houston's rich history and the blues clubs where Lightnin' Hopkins and Big Mama Thornton held sway, and features an enormous hand-painted mural depicting other local legends such as Albert Collins and Johnny "Guitar" Watson.
For more than 10 years, the chefs at Allstars Sports Bar & Grill have quelled game-day belly rumblings with a menu of classic pub fare peppered with Italian dishes. Servers outfitted in flirty referee duds convey trays of eats, from wings to hearty dishes of baked cavatappi, throughout the spacious dining area. More than 40 TVs illuminate the crunch of each tackle and the swish of each jumpshot as jersey-clad spectators sip domestic beers and cocktails. The eatery's sports collection abounds with memorabilia of local legends, such as Sammy Sosa's T-ball stand and Michael Jordan's Fisher Price basketball hoop.
Lively jazz tunes bounce off the brick walls, exposed rafters, and blue-tinged décor of Close Up 2 Jazz's South Loop location. Bartenders shake cocktail mixers in syncopation with smooth jazz that flows from a floor-level stage. Up-and-coming artists mix R & B and classical jazz in the loft-style lounge, whose music and ambiance have attracted numerous mentions in the press. Just steps from the LaSalle/Van Buren Brown Line stop, the chic club leaves its doors open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. on weekdays and 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Saturdays to catch the postwork crowd and recently retired "L" train cars.