Gem appraisal: Testing the waters at The Diamond Club
The Cubs game had ended hours before, but a leftover crowd lingered at The Diamond Club on an early fall Saturday night. One guy stomped the floor so hard in time to a Lady Gaga remix that the whole place shook; nearby, his friend stared vaguely overhead and swayed. Out on the balcony, with its Wrigley Field views (for now, at least; the eight-floor Addison Park on Clark will likely block sightlines), another guy danced with such abandon that his friends formed a protective blockade near the balcony’s glass wall.
My date and I had gussied up for this, our second outing to Wrigleyville’s new two-story Deuce’s (a polished sports bar at street level) & The Diamond Club (a VIP-esque lounge on the second floor), since I had heard there was a dress code upstairs. And indeed, we saw bouncers turn away or politely suggest wardrobe adjustments to revelers in sweatshirts, ball caps, and jerseys—all forbidden at night, when the lounge tries its hardest to provide a sophisticated alternative to the overflowing, overserving pubs that surround it.
“This would be a great place for a private party,” I said to my date, pointing out some of The Diamond Club’s best features: a deep couch strewn with pillows, Barcelona chairs, high settees, and a masterful, if blaring, sound system. “That’s a nice touch,” my date said, nodding at a tartan-upholstered bar before glancing toward the foot stomper. “It’s going to get trashed.” I hope the bar doesn’t get as trashed as those Cubs fans. It’s a good-looking place, thanks to Kevin Killerman (Casey Moran’s, O’Donovan’s) and James Geier, of the design company 555 International (Girl & the Goat, GT Fish & Oyster). “I always believed there’s a lot more to Wrigleyville than what it’s known for,” Geier, who has lived in the neighborhood for nearly two decades, told me later. “There are people around here with taste and attitude, and they’re starved for something better.”
Deuce’s, The Diamond Club’s more casual ground-floor sibling, is better. It’s the nicest sports bar around by a long shot, but, as my date put it, can you polish a—well, you know. And then there are the barstools. I half-sat on, half-hung off one of the tiny, slippery torture devices on a recent Wednesday for a very uncomfortable three hours. As I hunched this way and that, repositioning every few minutes, I noticed a pattern: Patrons would walk in, perch long enough to order a round, and then, with a grimace, seek refuge at a table equipped with real chairs. I hopped/fell off my stool and approached one such table, to which two dressed-up young women had migrated.
“Do you live in the neighborhood?” I asked.
“Yes. We’ve been watching this place go up,” said the brunette. “It’s nice, but it’s not our crowd. We need something younger, trendier. And the music is turning us off.”
I had been singing along to the tunes of my youth—Sublime, Pearl Jam, a little Madonna, a little MJ—so that last bit took me aback. “How old are you?” I asked.
“I’m 23. She’s 24,” said the blond.
I smiled and wished them luck in their search for a more happening scene. Maybe they should try upstairs.
Deuce’s & The Diamond Club 3505 N. Clark St.; deucesandthediamondclub.com
Photograph: Chris GuillenBars and Drinking