Polish karaoke night

Polish karaoke night

PANTS-OFF DANCE OFF Dancers get buck wild to September’s trance-pop.

Chicago-area Polish nightlife has a well-earned rep for enthusiastic, unrestrained partying at unpretentious venues where confident, skin-baring ladies and clean-cut dudes grind to euphoric Euro rhythms under blaring lights. That, and bikini contests. But during these tough economic times, young Poles, like everyone else, are holding tighter to their partying dollar. Word on the street is suburban hot spot Accent Café and North Side club Jedynka aren’t raging the way they once did.

Still, Paris Café (5301 W Belmont Ave, 773-725-1675), open since 2001 in the Northwest Side’s Belmont Cragin neighborhood, buzzes on even the most frigid Thursday nights, when a predominately Polish crowd lets loose at the weekly karaoke and dance party. As owner Rafael Dominguez explains, because Paris Café doesn’t charge a cover, it’s a cheaper alternative to the nightclubs. Still, his midweek business has slowed, leading him to surmise that many Poles working in construction, mortgage and related businesses are returning home to an economy that’s faring slightly better than ours.

But on a recent Thursday night, during the weekly karaoke/dance party, almost every table and couch at Paris is taken. The café has an interior that echoes a crumbly, old-world charm with faux archways and a wall-size map of Europe. The black couches and a back-room bottle service area with pink lighting are clubby touches. It’s not strictly a club vibe, though: The café serves coffee drinks and Polish-style grilled kanapki (sandwiches).

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