Everything old is new again. Unless it’s actually new. Or so new it’s really, really old. Bars and clubs from all three genres made our list of ten choices for best new nightspots to open in the past year. In Pops for Champagne and Lava, we found a couple of relocated favorites so polished up, we’d hardly know them—if not for those central features that made us love them in the first place (that’s bubbly at Pops and DJs at Lava). Then there are the spots so fresh they’ve carved out an entirely new nightlife niche, one we’re dubbing eco-bars. The West Loop’s Lumen and, to a greater extent, River West’s Butterfly Social Club cater to a greener—and scene-ier—generation of lounge goers. And then there’s the return to the oldest trick in the bartender’s book: service. A slew of new upscale options, with River North’s Manor as flagship, have redefined the VIP concept—all you need is the cash to join the club. For those who can’t keep up with the new-new, the old-new, and the new-old, never fear. The opening of a new breed of neighborhood taverns, in Uptown and Bucktown (of all places), means you can still grab a beer and a seat at the bar.
The best places for celeb spotting, date night, and VIP treatment. Plus: Green scene, suburban sanctuary, local DJ haven, nouveau neighborhood dive, dual personality, home away from home.
And a few on the radar, including: Relax Lounge, English, Martini Park, Crimson Lounge, and more.
Organic cocktails are hot. Coed restrooms are not. Check out the rest of the list.