FIRST IMPRESSION Billy Dec's revamped contribution to the Chicago bar scene is themed like an underground bunker and looks something like the mission control center of a '90s action movie supervillain. An entire wall is devoted to a giant shimmering world map, while another hypnotic expanse displays a grid of triangles that pulsate to the "untz untz untz" of house music. The women are dressed accordingly—their bottoms tottering above heels, their tops wobbling under their necklines—with a less attractive male set lucky to have enough money to buy their way in with bottle service. There is no dance floor, just a maze of tables, leaving you little room to twerk (or do whatever it is you do in trendy underground nightclubs) to remixed Adele and top-40 hits.
DRINKS A depressing selection of beer accompanies a collection of marked-up top-tier bubbles, with a small list of "signature cocktails." The bar staff is perfectly happy to make you a Red Bull and vodka—with every type of Red Bull and a wide assortment of flavored vodkas, imagine the delicious combinations! We tried the salted caramel margarita (Avion Reposado, Mariposa agave nectar, lime, vanilla) but had trouble making past the salted caramel rim. The blueberry mule (Absolut acai, Ketel One, white wine sangria syrup, topped with Gosling’s Ginger Beer) proved more successful, thanks to the garnish of fresh mint and blueberries.
FOOD A sparse dessert-only menu includes three choices, with such popular underground bomb-shelter favorites as strawberry Pop Tarts.
SERVICE Despite rumors of a snotty door staff, we were quickly escorted inside and away from the rain on a bustling Thursday around 11pm. Perfectly acceptable, if overly peppy, service was provided by cocktail waitresses in short-shorts and male bartenders in uniforms reminiscent of post-apocalyptic Boy Scouts.
THE TAB $26 for two drinks.
|Venue name:||The Underground|
56 W Illinois St
|Cross street:||between Dearborn and Clark Sts|
|Opening hours:||Thu, Fri 10pm–4am; Sat 10pm–5am; Sun 10pm–4am|
|Transport:||El stop: Red to Grand. Bus: 22, 29, 36, 65.|
|Price:||Average beer: $7, $20 cover|
|Do you own this business?|