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56 W. Illinois St.; 312-644-7600
Nightlife vets Billy Dec, Brad Young, and Arturo Gomez, the masterminds behind River North’s most popular late-night hang (and its nearby sibling, Rockit Bar & Grill), have a solid grip on the city’s A-list crowd. Even though UG—as regulars call it—is open until 4 a.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and 5 a.m. on Saturdays, by 10 p.m. there’s already a mosh pit hanging around the velvet ropes, clamoring for a peek inside the steel sliding doors. Good luck. This is a scene for VIPs, beautiful girls, and celebrities, so even if you’re prepared to drop $20 and wait patiently, preference will always go to the bottle buyers and regulars. Inside the exclusive subterranean party, designed like the interior of a bomb shelter, the place is a bevy of body parts. Who needs hired club dancers when patrons hop up to shake it atop the booths? Resident DJ Whiteshadow spins familiar hip-hop and old-school rock, and you might even catch a live performance by the band or celebrity DJ of the moment—or at least a glimpse of David Schwimmer and Jeremy Piven pretending not to enjoy the hordes of women glomming on.
Photography: Thomas Chadwick