The days surrounding Thanksgiving are prime party time; people are back in the city for the holidays and looking for an excuse to spend a night on the town. Not every music venue and dance club is open on Black Wednesday and Black Friday (November 22 and November 24, respectively), but the ones that are usually have lines out the door. If you're looking for a place to take a break from eating turkey, sip cocktails and reconnect with old friends, check out our guide to Black Wednesday and Friday parties and events.
RECOMMENDED: Thanksgiving events in Chicago
Chicago poet and singer-songwriter Jamila Woods headlines Metro's BLK Wednesday concert, performing soulful, socially conscientious anthems from her acclaimed debut, HEAVN. Local R&B singers Jean Deaux and Tasha are also on the bill, with support from DJs Chanté and Rae Chardonnay.
Before he founded Califone, singer-songwriter Tim Rutili channeled his love of blues and folk music at the head of Red Red Meat. The band's propulsive, distortion-ridden arrangements yielded a contract with vaunted indie label Sub Pop at the height of the grunge era, but records like Bunny Gets Paid and Jimmywine Majestic never really achieved anything more than cult status. In the group's hometown of Chicago, Red Red Meat became something of an institution at the Empty Bottle where it headlined a New Year's Eve show (the burlap poster for the gig still hangs behind the bar) and later reunited in 2009. To mark the venue's 25th anniversary, Rutli is getting the original lineup of the group back together (joined by two members of Califone) for a trip down memory lane, with support from Tim Kinsella's eclectic Joan of Arc project (November 24) and local guitarist Ryley Walker (November 22).
Head to Wicker Park for Black Wednesday deals and steals: Guests can cash in on half-off happy hour from 5 to 7pm. Hockey fans will want to stick around until 6:30pm, when the bar airs the Blackhawks game on all of its TVs. All-night specials include $6 signature cocktails, $4 select craft cans and free pool.
Here's a Black Friday bargain that might be too good to pass up: a party at Navy Pier that's selling a limited number of tickets for just 99 cents. Once those are sold out, admission is still a reasonable $9.99 to $29.99—not bad for an event that features cocktails, three DJs and more than 3,000 people ready to party late into the post-Thanksgiving evening.
Want to dance the night away for free on Black Friday? House of Blues' Elevate dance party in the Foundation Room serves up beats form DJ Legacy all night long. If you're spending all your cash on those deals, your wallet won't mind that admission to this event won't cost you a dime.
What better way to cap off your Black Friday than with a happy hour with an all-Kesha soundtrack? From 7 to 9pm, Beauty Bar will be spinning "TiK ToK," "Crazy Kids" and other songs by the recently reinvented pop star. There'll be $10 Old Style pitchers served with two shots of Malört, $3 Old Style drafts and (as usual) $15 martinis and manicures. With any luck, you'll wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy.
Local EDM duo Louis the Child headline a Friendsgiving bash on Black Friday, inviting some familiar local faces to a musical feast at the Aragon Ballroom. Show up early to catch sets from production duos Party Pupils and Win and Woo, then stick around for some rapid-fire rhymes from Chicago rapper Joey Purps. Robby Hauldren and Freddy Kennett provide the main course, which should be stacked high with catchy, electronic hooks. Attendees are encouraged to bring canned food to the show to donate to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
Even if you're not planning on standing in line to buy your own bottle, you can still drink some of Goose Island's coveted Bourbon County Stout at WhirlyBall on Black Friday. Attendees will be able to purchase samples of all six of the 2017 varieties, as well as some vintage Bourbon County Stout selections dating back to 2009. Once you've had a drink, you can play the Goose Island brewers in a game of WhirlyBall and win some prizes. Proceeds from the event will support the Movember Foundation—guys, make sure you're sporting your finest mustache.