Nightlife | Wicker Park Guide 2011
Debonair Social Club One of Wicker Park’s hottest spots; the hipster masses converge en masse here often. Really often. Monday’s No. 1 dance party, Rehab, boasts two floors of indie, electro and dance-rock mayhem. Wednesdays, the ladies of the night take over for rock-fueled burlesque. Weekends it keeps things open-ended; DJs play across the board and always on point. 1575 N Milwaukee Ave (773-227-7990). El: Blue to Damen. Bus: 50, 56, 72. Sun–Fri 9pm–2am, Sat 9pm–3am. Average cocktail: $7.
Empire Liquors The crowd has changed at Empire over the course of its lifetime. As the scenesters decided too many people were crowding the spot, they left for more off-the-beaten-path hangs. Through it all, though, the swank nightspot has stayed the course and kept the hip-hop–focused dance party going. The faces may be more Lincoln than Wicker Park, but the place is still a damn good time. 1566 N Milwaukee Ave (773-278-1600). El: Blue to Damen. Bus: 50, 56, 72. Wed, Thu, Sun 9pm–2am; Fri 8pm–2am; Sat 8pm–3am. Average cocktail: $8.
Evil Olive This spot may have changed names more than any other venue in the ’hood, but it’s become an unlikely hangout for young hipsters thanks to long-standing weekend dance parties hosted by local jocks Zebo, Marco Morales, Popstatic and Konsept. It’s making serious inroads on our weekdays as well, thanks to the over-the-top exploits of Monday throwdown Porn and Chicken and Thursday’s Let’s Get Weird. 1551 W Division St (773-235-9100). El: Blue to Division. Bus: 9, 56, 70. Mon, Wed–Fri, Sun 9pm–4am; Sat 9pm–5am (closed Tue). Average cocktail: $7.
rodan Compact but handsomely designed in modern blues and wood, rodan fulfills the fantasy of the hipster who’s moved on from squalid nights sucking PBRs in no-name dives. DJs spin wildly eclectic sets to their own tastes—anything from Afrobeat and soul to space rock and psych—and the big video screen and weekly live avant-jazz make it a multimedia mecca. 1530 N Milwaukee Ave (773-276-7036). El: Blue to Damen. Bus: 50, 56, 72. Sun–Thu 6pm–2am; Fri 5pm–2am; Sat 5pm–3am. Average cocktail: $6.
Subterranean This multilevel venue has survived a few noise violations to become more relevant than ever. The upstairs is devoted to a live stage, which features indie, garage, hip-hop and jammy acts nightly. The downstairs lounge touts a weekly lineup of hip-hop, reggae and house nights. It’s also one of the only places in Wicker Park for 17-and-up shows. 2011 W North Ave (773-278-6600). El: Blue to Damen. Bus: 50, 56, 72. Sun–Fri 8pm–2am; Sat 8pm–3am. Average beer: $3.