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Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club
Photograph: Courtesy Royal Palms

12 great holiday party spots in Chicago

From sausage-making demos to shuffleboard, here’s where to throw a holiday party for groups of friends or colleagues.

Written by
Kris Vire
&
Cate Huguelet
Contributor
Emma Krupp
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'Tis the season for Christmas lights and festive pop-up bars, which means that you might have a few holiday parties to attend—or plan—in the near future. Not sure to gather with your crew of holiday revelers? We've rounded up Chicago venues perfect for every type of holiday gathering, whether you're trying to keep it simple with a group of friends, show off your competitive side at an arcade or rent out an entire rooftop for a swanky company soiree. Plus, you'll find options for every budget on our list (including free, believe it or not). Make your holiday gathering merry and bright with our list of the best holiday party spots in Chicago.    

RECOMMENDED: How to celebrate Christmas in Chicago

Time Out Market Chicago
  • Restaurants
  • West Loop

Looking for variety and plenty of space for your holiday party? With 18 kitchen and three levels within a 50,000-square-foot building, Time Out Market Chicago has room for your festive event. Organizers can opt for Event Cards that allow guests to choose the food and drinks they want from the Market's various vendors and bars. Or, the Market can arrange a curated meal—a pizza party featuring Candlelite Pizza or a barbecue feast from Soul & Smoke, perhaps? Don't forget about seasonal cocktails from Secret Sand-ta!

Fill out an event request to book a party.

Holiday party venues in Chicago

  • Attractions
  • Arcades and amusements
  • Avondale

Have a little retro fun this holiday season at a blast-from-the-past Avondale bowling alley outfitted with eight bright-hued lanes for you to try your skills (just be prepared to do some math, because there's no computerized scoring). A bar in the back of the room is stocked with local beer, wine and cocktails for grabbing libations between rounds. 

Reservations for up to 12 people are available online; call 708-831-8064 or email reservations@avondalebowl.com for larger parties.

 

  • Music
  • Music venues
  • Lower West Side
  • price 1 of 4

Party-planning conundrum: On one hand, you’ve got the Old World–inflected charm and simple but beautifully executed fare of Dusek’s Tavern; on the other, the uncle’s basement vibe (Paneling! A decorative marlin!) and superb cocktail offerings of Punch House, its downstairs bar. Can’t choose between the two? Good news: Events at the Beer Cellar (max capacity 30 seated, 45 standing reception) combine the best of both worlds, allowing you to put together a party that marries bites from Dusek’s kitchen with boozy punches from its sassy subterranean sister.

Fill out an event request to book a party. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • West Loop
  • price 1 of 4

After dark, the West Loop’s butcher shop/cafe doubles as the private event space for its big sister, the Publican. PQM offers a range of multi-course, family-style dinners (40-guest max) or standing cocktail parties. Solid options, sure—but for an event that’s truly different, consider an evening that revolves around PQM’s core: butchery. Gather your group around a whole hog or a suckling pig (12 guests), or see how the sausage is made—literally—with a guided sausage-making class. 

Fill out an event request to book a party.

Fulton Market Kitchen
  • Restaurants
  • American
  • West Loop
  • price 2 of 4

Events of all sizes are on the table at Fulton Market Kitchen, which offers full-venue seated dinners for up to 200, cocktail receptions for up to 150, and just about everything in between. Details like candelabras and tufted banquettes lend a touch of luxury here, while polished concrete floors and quirky, large-scale artworks keep the ambience from feeling stuffy. Choose from seven different rooms, whether you're looking for something small and intimate (like The Studio, an artsy setup with a private bar) or more grand (like The Main, the 60-foot main wall of which is decorated with a massive mural).

Fill out an event request to book a party.  

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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Loop
  • price 2 of 4

Got a competitive group to accommodate? Consider the entertainment-stocked environment of The Game Room for your next event. Located in the Chicago Athletic Association, the sprawling bar has pool tables, a poker table, chess boards and a full bocce court, so there’s plenty to entertain you while you party away with a cocktail in hand. 

Fill out an event request to book a party.

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Logan Square
  • price 2 of 4

Scads of dark hardwood and a crackling fire set a cozy tone for parties at the Brewer’s Lounge, the second-floor event space at Revolution’s Logan Square brewpub (up to 100 seated or 130 cocktail-style). Need more space? Opt for The Tap Room at Revolution's Avondale facilities (up to 180 seated or 250 cocktail-style), a capacious room stacked high with barrels aging the brewery's Deep Woods series of beers and outfitted with views of the canning line. Beer buffs can even tack on a tour of the facilities for an additional cost.

Fill out an event request to book a party.  

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  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Hyde Park
  • price 2 of 4

Though the downstairs restaurant/bar are centered around a cozy hearth, the second-floor venue space at The Promontory pays homage to Hyde Park's history as a hub for Chicago's jazz scene with a stage, crisp acoustics and full lighting and sound capabilities. Guests can watch the evening's entertainment while dining on the kitchen's seasonally-curated food and beverage menus, and folks with cars will be pleased to find plenty of street parking outside the venue. FYI: The sheer size of the space means it's is best for larger events (i.e. 50 or more people—though it can host up to 150 or 300 for seated dinners and standing cocktail parties, respectively).

Fill out an event request to book a party.

  • Restaurants
  • Argentinian
  • Loop

Billed as a "Latin escape," the 15th-floor, glass-topped rooftop at the Kimpton Gray Hotel downtown offers dazzling views of the city to ponder while munching on a menu of Peruvian- and Argentinian-inspired street food bites—which can be customized to your liking—and boldly-flavored cocktails. You can opt to book the whole joint for parties of up to 250, but more intimate groups will want to check out Esperanza, the rooftop's private dining room.

Fill out an event request to book a party. 

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  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Wicker Park
  • price 1 of 4

You've got myriad options when it comes to booking a party at one of Emporium—the arcade bar stocked with '80s and '90s arcade games, plus plenty of craft brews on tap—but we prefer to keep things simple. First choose a location (there are bars in Wicker Park, Fulton Market and Logan Square), then figure out how many people you're inviting. While Emporium can accommodate groups of up to 500, parties of 30 or fewer can reserve space free of charge—just bring your own food or hire catering services. 

Fill out an event request to book a party. 

 

  • Attractions
  • Arcades and amusements
  • Wicker Park

Modeled after classic shuffleboard clubs in Florida—complete with the requisite palm tree decor—Royal Palms brings the century-old pastime to a gigantic warehouse in Wicker Park. Though the club typically operates on a walk-in basis, groups of 10–100 can book a Cabana Party, which nets you access to a reserved court and cabana plus courtside drink service (available in "well," "signature" and "premium" packages). Got a party bigger than 100? You can also spring for buying out the full space, half the space or the Lido Deck rooftop. Make sure to plan ahead, though: Cabana Parties require 60 days notice, and full- to half-space rentals require more than 60 days. 

Fill out an event request to book a party.

 

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • River North
  • price 2 of 4

Pretend you're somewhere warm and tropical this holiday season at The Bamboo Room, a swanky, low-lit speakeasy inside River North’s Three Dots and a Dash that holds up to 30 people. Feast on passed snacks like crab rangoon, Thai peanut shrimp skewers and chicken with yellow coconut curry—then wash everything down with the bar's signature rum-based drinks.

Email threedotsparties@leye.com or call 312-610-4205 to book a party. 

  • Bars
  • Breweries
  • Lincoln Square

Half Acre's Lincoln Tap Room in North Center may have closed its doors for good in fall 2021, but you and your party can still raise a pint of Daisy Cutter this holiday season at the brewery's new-ish (and massive) outpost located just west of Andersonville. The production facility's sleek-yet-cozy indoor bar can host up to 150 people.

Fill out an event request to book a party.

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