It’s a question that precedes many a girls' night: the nail bar or the cocktail bar? Thanks to an increasing number of BYOB nail salons in Chicago, you can do both. Below, find five local nail spas that encourage you to kick back, uncork, and get pretty (or pretty tipsy) with a few friends—complete with suggested drink pairings.
Rum and (Diet) Coke: Pearl’s Nails
Guests will have to make a few tough choices at Pearl’s Nails. After finally picking a color from the rainbow of OPI, Essie, and durable Shellac polishes, they’ll have to choose a complimentary beverage to enjoy during the service. The DePaul-area salon keeps a monthly changing slate of free drinks on tap—recent offerings include Sprite, fruit juice, and Diet Coke—many of which also make great mixers for libations brought from home.
Cosmo: New Age Nail Studio
It’d be a shame to undo the feel-good vibes generated by one of New Age’s organic SpaRitual manicures by drinking something heavy. The average cosmopolitan cocktail contains a mere 150 calories, so guests can indulge in guilt-free sips while enjoying a warm herbal neck wrap, a geranium-oil hand scrub, and a polish application in one of more than 300 vegan, nontoxic hues. As an added bonus, New Age also provides cups and bottle openers for its patrons. Don’t feel like toting a shaker? No problem—the Gold Coast salon also serves a complimentary glass of wine or champagne to each customer.
Mimosas: Juko Nail & Skin Rescue
When it comes to people watching, Juko’s flower-lined sidewalk patio rivals any Wicker Park brunch spot. Inside, the sunny space welcomes groups to mix their own drinks and chat across bench-like pedicure chairs or take in a flick on the flat-screen TV. Outside food is also welcome, and as luck would have it, the muffins and pastries at Letizia’s Natural Bakery are only a few storefronts away.
Merlot: The Nail Social
An open floor plan contributes to the “social” vibe of this Near South Side salon, where the staff is all about top-notch service. Whether treating guests to a VIP mani-pedi or special ordering their favorite polish, it’s easy to see why the Nail Social was dubbed one of the best South Loop mani spots in 2012 by Chicago magazine. The berry, plum, and currant tones of a merlot will complement the rosy dots on the salon’s logo.
Ice-Cold Beer: Hollywood Nails 1
This mysterious Boystown nail salon may not look like much from the outside—or the inside—but customers rave about the friendly atmosphere, the stellar service, and the to-die-for foot massages. The BYOB policy is an added bonus: embrace the no-frills attitude and pair a cold brewski with a warm foot soak.