Star Wars fans are counting down the days until the seventh installment of the beloved, cult hit sci-fi series hits theaters (which technically happens December 18, though several theaters will have evening showings on December 17 as well). If you can't even wait that long to revisit the galaxy far, far away, check out these Star Wars–influenced cocktails, meals, and events happening in advance of the big day.
For the entire month of December, the Uptown bar (3819 N. Broadway) will serve five Force-infused cocktails: the Emperor, Leia, Luke, Han, and Darth. Bartender Holly Reid's favorite is the Han, a tangy white rum and absinthe cocktail with a nutty finish. The others also take on earthy and herbal notes: the Emperor is a frothy vanilla gin, the Leia is a pear vodka with basil notes, the Luke is a Manhattan balanced with bourbon, and the Darth combines Olmeca Altos Plata tequila, Green Chartreuse, and tamarind. Each cocktail costs $10.
Table, Donkey and Stick
On December 15, the Logan Square restaurant (2728 W. Armitage Ave.) will serve a six-course, Star Wars–themed dinner including Thai Fighting XO-Wings, Tauntaun Soup Dumplings, Jar Jar Bisque, Obi-Wan Pierogi, and Smoked "Vadervan" Pork (a play on French vadouvan curry). Resident chef Scott Manley’s contribution, the aforementioned pork dish, used Darth Vader—dark on the outside and light on the inside—as his inspiration. Reservations are creeping into waitlist territory by now, so call 773-486-8525 or visit tabledonkeystick.com soon. Tickets are $48.
On December 16, The Whistler (2421 N. Milwaukee Ave.) turns into Mos Eisley Cantina—that bar at the beginning of the first movie—with live music from local synth-pop band Silent Reading, who will cover the hits of Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes cover band (i.e., those alien musicians from aforementioned bar at the beginning of the first movie). Enjoy brightly colored drink specials flourished with dry ice. No cover charge, no tickets—the 21 and up event starts at 6 p.m. Lightsabers, Wookiees, and stormtroopers welcome.
AMC River East
If 16 hours and 40 minutes of nothing but Star Wars and its fans appeals to you, AMC River East (322 E. Illinois St.) will play all seven movies starting at 1 a.m. on December 17, ending with The Force Awakens in 3D. Suburbanites won’t miss out either—the Naperville and Schererville AMC theaters will also play nothing but Star Wars for nearly a day for $67. Buy tickets here.
Pregame the new film on December 17 with Empirical Brewery's one-off batches of Star Wars–inspired brews at Adler Planetarium After Dark, featuring suds from the light side (a bready, fruity Belgian blonde with a slight hop) and the dark side (a hearty and malty chocolate oatmeal stout). The special event includes a lightsaber workshop from EDGE Theater and robots from Northwestern University Brain Awareness Outreach and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Unfortunately, tickets to the private late-night screening of the flick at the ICON Theater are sold out, but you can still party like an Ewok from 6 p.m. until midnight. Tickets are $25.