Joining the crush of velvet ropes in River North is the eighth-floor NV Penthouse Lounge (116 W. Hubbard St.). “We wanted to create an exclusive lounge with a European flair,” says co-owner Dan George, who’s responsible for picking out the intricate chandeliers (“Don’t even ask me what those cost,” he says) and for designing the metal handiwork found throughout the 3,400-square-foot space. Also of note: the 600-square-foot balcony with five cabanas, each boasting a view of downtown Chicago. Expect a $20 cover if you’re a guy who’s not on the list (ladies usually get in free) and a strict dress code (no sneakers), and kiss the thought of snagging a table goodbye (they’ve been reserved for days). Smaller private parties can reserve the corner “Champagne room,” lined with white vinyl booths. If that’s not exclusive enough, witness the elevator-only access. Chicago, it seems, is moving on up. 


Photograph: Chris Guillen