Nightlife in the Western Suburbs of Chicago
Food, drink, and music are all central themes to Chicago’s nightlife, no matter where in the city you are. Though those three factors are central to Chicago’s nightlife identity in general, this was best expressed in what western Chicago had to offer in particular.
What keeps the residents of the western suburbs warm through the bitter winter cold is made apparent by the very identity of the clubs in those parts. They go beyond offering warm food, tasty wine, and rhythmic music by offering all of that at a level that feels almost personal. The food seems especially accustomed to your tastes, the wines brewed to your liking, and the music made for your very ears.
I visited on such place that embodied this cultural identity, a neat little setup that is described by the owners as a “hole”, slightly larger than the one they started with. This relaxed attitude, and the idea that the place can run in any way the client likes, might seem like something that would create disastrous effects, but it is the exact opposite. The purposeful lack of attitude only serves to create a more homely feeling. The mix of newbies and regulars creates an interesting blend of curious people and those available to satisfy that curiosity with many an interesting tale. The music, which almost purposefully seems to be like nothing you have ever heard before, both finds a way to somehow keep your attention and blend into the background. The affordability of it all tops it off, leaving you with the feeling that you had been to an old friend’s house and not a pub.
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I later visited a Saloon that promised to differ from the small, warm pubs that welcome you at every corner. This place offers a variation of more than three-hundred types of beer just to stress the point of how different it is. It may seem overwhelming at first, but given the organization, you find there, one soon realizes that it could very well be a place you can visit three-hundred times with the promise of a unique experience. The food on offer there is equally and stunningly diverse, and as you would expect, there is a live music performance, filling the air with songs with tunes that seem to be lyrics, promising that you will never forget the unique tastes, smell, and feeling of going out at night in western Chicago.
It was a place that while been unique in its own right, it also strived to represent the three inescapable features of Chicago nightlife that one becomes accustomed to, but never bored of.
Perhaps challenging this idea a little are Dj driven dance clubs in more typical nightclub settings. Upon visiting these, you would expect a little relief and some measure of comfort that not everything is done differently in western Chicago. There are many such typical dance clubs to be found, blasting raving music on dance floors filled with people dancing along to more popular sounds, unlike the eerie music heard elsewhere in the suburbs, but there is another notable difference. These clubs, though typical as they may be in layout, are populated by a people who themselves give the place a different vibe. Perhaps changed by their experiences elsewhere, one cannot help but feel a particular proximity with those around you. Even in loud, synthetic discs, the cultural intimacy is felt, ensuring that you have experienced something unique, no matter where you go.
The affordability of it all is something of note, and there are a few options for those willing to spend a little more cash. Visiting a certain cocktail lounge, one surely believes that there could not be any distinguishing features in a place that has a standardized rating, but this is also not true. While there was no live music, and the cocktails were as pricey as they were delicious, a neat little presentation of small bites presented to me seemed almost like a silent hint from the establishment that, no matter where you have been in the world, there is no another place quite like the suburbs of western Chicago in the nighttime.