DJ Samantha Ronson at a previous Crimson Lounge gig
To the nightlife set, Black Wednesday has nothing to do with the British pound being forced out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism back in September 1992. Instead, Black Wednesday—a.k.a. The Night Before Thanksgiving—means one thing: the biggest party of the year. Whether you’re looking to unwind before stuffing yourself with turkey or need an evening off before stomaching those holiday-induced family spats, we’ve rounded up the best ways to spend November 21st.
• Enclave: “The King of South Beach,” DJ Cedric Gervais, brings his tribal beats and hard-hitting house to Chicago; Nathan Scott and Wizz Kid Walter also spin. Doors open at 8 p.m.; cover is $20; and there’s a cocktail reception from 8 to 9 p.m. E-mail RSVP@enclavechicago.com for free cover before 10 p.m.
• The Underground: It’s co-owner Arturo Gomez’s “Effen Birthday” (get it?), so expect an all-out party featuring celeb-fave DJ Cassidy, who’s spun for J.Lo, Oprah, and Diddy, among others. Doors open at 9 p.m. with a reception until 10 p.m. (no cover if you RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org). For entrance after 10 p.m. ($20 cover), RSVP to email@example.com.
• Crimson Lounge: It’s a battle of celebrity spinners this Thanksgiving Eve, as Hollywood DJ and Lindsay Lohan pal Samantha Ronson returns for her fourth gig in the Hotel Sax’s lounge, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. No cover.
• Citizen: Head here for $3 lemon-drop shots and $125 bottles of Snow Queen vodka, in honor of—well, we’re not even sure what the connection is between lemons and Thanksgiving, but a deal’s a deal. Doors open at 7 p.m.; DJs K.O. and Risky Biz spin from 9 p.m. until close. Thanks to the bar’s new outdoor deck, this party takes place inside and out.
• Bamboo Room Schaumburg: Ty Bentli from 103.5 KISS FM hosts this party featuring a raffle, a turkey grab (stuffed-animal turkeys with prizes inside), and giveaway tickets to the club’s New Year’s Eve party plus $500 in cash. Bonus: two-for-one shots all night. Happy Thanksgiving.
• Cortland’s Garage: Get your game face on for interactive trivia and a Nintendo Wii bowling competition. Since sports make you thirsty, drink specials include $4 well drinks, $3 domestics, $4 imports, and $1 off all shots.
• Krem (1750 N. Clark St.): This spot’s Black and White Ball has snagged sponsorship from Absolut Black 100, the new 100-proof vodka. (Maybe they should start calling the night “Blackout Wednesday.") There’s a hosted cocktail reception from 9:30 to 10:30 p.m. with passed appetizers; black-and-white attire is highly recommended. For VIP dining reservations or bottle service, call Brandon at 708-769-5555.
• Lumen: The night’s theme at this West Loop lounge is “Lights Out” for Black Wednesday, with DJs Lee Foss and Lo Pro, Snow Queen vodka drink specials, and no cover before 11 p.m. ($20 after). For table reservations, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Manor and RiNo: The guys from the promotions group chicagotwentysomething.com host two parties the same night. L.A.’s DJ Gusto spins at Manor beginning at 10 p.m., then moves to RiNo for a second set at 2 a.m.
• Plan B: It’s easy to be thankful for drink specials like $3 shots of Jameson and Southern Comfort, $6 martinis, and $2 12-ounce cans of domestic beer. Or opt for one of the bar’s fall drink specials; we like the sound of the $8 “loaded cider” (spiced rum, Butterscotch Schnapps, and hot apple cider, topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon). There aren’t any turkey specials, but chicken wings with ponzu dipping sauce go for $3.60 a dozen.
Know of more Black Wednesday bashes? Post the details below.
Photograph: Neil Weisenberg