Party of One

Bad-boy rocker Tommy Lee in the flesh; the best night at Bacchus; cocktailing at Hotel Sofitel’s Le Bar.

A Party of One
It’s Monday night and I’m at Le Passage (1 Oak Place) with my girlfriends awaiting a “VIP afterparty” for bad-boy rocker Tommy Lee, in town to promote his new album, Never a Dull Moment.

Running the party is Billy Dec, the nightclub maestro who with a partner, Brad Young, recently joined the ownership of Le Passage. I leave my girlfriends with a bottle of Champagne and jump into a limo with Dec, NBC5 news anchor Natalie Martinez, and her friend. After stops at Narcisse (710 N. Clark St.), to greet DJ pioneer Paul Oakenfold, and Vision Nightclub, part of Excalibur (640 N. Dearborn St.), to catch a glimpse of Oakenfold’s show, we head to House of Blues, where Tommy Lee is cooling down after his show. More than six feet tall, slender, sexy, sweaty, he sports more tattoos than I had imagined. “Nice to meet you, Tommy,” I say. “Nice to touch you,” he replies-fitting for a guy who romped in that X-rated home video with his ex-wife, Pamela Anderson. We spend the next hour fixing drinks, talking about his “sick” show that “rocked Chicago.” We’re buddies now, you see. I call one of my girlfriends, and Tommy chats her up on my cell phone while his fiancée, Mayte Garcia (Prince’s ex-wife), shoots me a dirty look. Puhlease! Eventually we all head back to Le Passage. While we dance in the VIP section, scenesters start to invade our coveted area, and I feel myself drifting back to the real world where Tommy Lee is a tabloid cover story, not my newest pal, and my mode of transportation is an Acura Integra, not a limo.

Thursday Night Fever
You won’t find any “Trixies” inside Lincoln Park’s Bacchus (2242 N. Lincoln Ave.), but you will find co-owners Dan Schwab and John Merlo overseeing operations every night of the week. The tri-level lounge/bar/dance club boasts one of the best and least pretentious club nights in the city: Trilogy Thursdays. Pay a mere $3 for cover, and order anything top-shelf from the bar for $3-a small price for the potent Trilogy cocktail (Pucker, vodka, cranberry juice, and 7UP). Chart-topping dance hits like Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” were on serious rotation (but maybe that’s because I kept requesting it).

Oo-la-la, Le Bar!
Take a peek inside Le Bar at the new, ultramod Hotel Sofitel Chicago Water Tower (20 E. Chestnut St.) and you’ll find a sleek afterwork hangout to sip fancy cocktails while whining about the latest AOL Time Warner rumblings. Order a martini, shaken and clumsily poured tableside, and make eyes at the polished peeps surrounding you. Although we waited anxiously for a second round of vodka orange martinis, we soon realized why it was taking so long: As seems to be the case at many swanky lounges lately, waitresses are hired for their looks and not their, um, skills. But we’ll be back.

Celebrity Beat
Emotional rapper DMX was spotted playing pool at the Marquee Lounge while in town for a Playboy photo shoot. . . . Actors Tom Arnold and David Schwimmer were among the guests at Le Passage’s re-launch party. . . . I also spotted Schwim hanging out at the Rockin’ Ribfest with pal Billy Dec while G. Love and Special Sauce played to a swelling crowd. . . . Eminem was a no-show at his Anger Management Tour afterparty on August 1st at Vision Nightclub, but co-headliners Papa Roach filled the void, taking pics with fans.

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