It may be smaller in scale, but this ultra-chic lounge in the Ukrainian Village packs a bigger punch than many of the DJ-focused venues in town. With a slick interior, massive sounds system and a DJ booth that could be straight out of 2001, Sonotheque draws from the cream of the crop of club goers in the city. Weekly it boasts taste-making talent that’s not a proper fit for many other venues, which marks it out as a unique destination for forward thinking and trendsetting music—and subsequently its clientele.
2. The Underground
On a national scale, the Underground is consistently touted as the No. 1 A-list club in the city. And with good reason. The brainchild of mogul entrepreneur Billy Dec, Underground regularly plays host to DJs, who, when playing in New York, L.A. or Vegas, are playing to the stars, which usually draws them out of the woodwork here in Chicago as well. Couple this see-and-be-seen aesthetic with its unique military stronghold-themed interior and generally beautiful people occupying its booths and you’ll quickly get over its six-dollar Budweisers.
There’s many a nightlife option tucked into Fulton Market, but Lumen remains a cut above. With an intricate lighting display running across the ceiling, a recent remodel and musical shift that sees it catering to a more well-to-do club going clientele, Lumen know features regular appearances from DJs on par with anyone rocking it at the Underground or NV Penthouse.
4. Crimson Lounge
Prominently placed in the lobby of the hip hotel Sax, Crimson’s interior and spacious lounging nooks and crannies are almost enough to draw a crowd on their own. Sporting a regal 19th-century European aristocratic vibe and rich dark woods with the—obviously—crimson color theme, it also plays host to solid resident hip-hop and house DJs with regular “celebrity” appearances from the likes of Samantha Ronson.
5. Sushisamba Rio – Sugarcane Lounge
Big windows spill sunshine onto this rooftop lounge with partitioned cabanas perfect for enjoying its specialty cocktails and companions conversation. Meanwhile DJs entice the crowd more and more as the sunsets with an eclectic mix of Brazilian classics, Latin house, Balearic beach vibes and later on, hip-hop and more commercial fare.