Brave this Black Wednesday with a bucket of turkey balls at Timothy O'Toole's.

Black Wednesday is to bars what Sweetest Day is to Hallmark: a pure marketing maneuver. What once was a night for city transplants to journey back home to their families—and for everyone else, a chance to hit the grocery store for last-minute cans of cranberry goo—has become a night to party hard and kick off the holidays with a beer-and-a-shot bar special because it’s Black Wednesday! (Whatever that means.)

Look, I’m all for it. Thanksgiving doesn’t forgive a hangover as easily as a lazy New Year’s Day, but if you’re in possession of enough Listerine to slide under your mom’s breath-sniffing radar, go ahead and drink up at these hand-picked Black Wednesday parties, selected especially for you by The Chaser.

  • At Bridge Bar (above Fulton’s in River North), the first annual “Turkey Night” is a celebration of the season’s favorite bird, with drive-thru turkey burgers topped with cranberry sauce, $8 craft beers, and $2 Wild Turkey shots.
  • Pioneer Tavern Group—owners of Noble Square’s Frontier, Bucktown’s Lottie’s Pub, and Lakeview’s The Pony—is hosting a “Black Out Black Wednesday” trolley crawl that will visit all three bars. The hop is free (though you’ll pay for drinks at each stop), and the trolley is being stocked with complimentary Amstel Light and Malibu rum cocktails. It’ll be a long haul, with karaoke at Lottie’s, Blackhawks festivities (featuring the Blackhawks Ice Girls and the voice of the Hawks, Gene Honda) at The Pony, and live music and a patio campfire with s’mores at Frontier. The hop starts at 7 at Lottie’s; reserve a spot by signing up at the bar.
  • Wicker Park’s Bangers & Lace is putting a Black Wednesday twist on its beer and cocktail pairing of the night. For $12, get “A Case of the Higgles”—a drink made with Luxardo Amaro, blackberry liqueur, lemon, honey, Angostura bitters and flamed orange peel—plus an Allagash Black, a Belgian-style stout with a chocolaty, malty taste.
  • TZAR Ultra Lounge’s “The Black Out Affair” is an attempt to imbue the ‘holiday’ with a touch of class: The River North club promises exotic black automobiles for admiring, an encouraged all-black dress code for gawking, and a hosted champagne bar from 10 to 11 for gulping.
  • For those who hold their Thanksgiving traditions sacred, here’s a new one to add to the roster of holiday fun: Timothy O’Toole’s in Streeterville will host its second annual Turkey Testicle Festival, starting at 8. The winner of the testicle-eating contest (did I really just type that?) will take home a whole frozen turkey to prepare for dinner the next day (the winner of a less-gag-inducing pumpkin pie eating contest at 11 will make $25). Drink specials include $4 Jameson shots, $2 Miller and Coors Lite pints, half-price Guinness “Blacklist” drafts (Guinness mixed with other brews), and, er, $6.99 buckets of balls.

I’m afraid I’ll miss out on the revelry (and the turkey balls) due to a pressing out-of-town Thanksgiving engagement. Guess I’ll add that to my list of things to be thankful for.