I didn’t want to make a big deal about my birthday this year. Like I said last week, approaching your mid-30s isn’t necessarily an occasion to celebrate.

That said, I had the best birthday weekend this year, simply because I spent it with good friends and family. My pizza party at Piece was great; we had that bottom lounge-pit area reserved for about 40 or so people. It was a perfect mix of The Marrieds and The Singles – including my brother, Michael, and my sister-in-law, Kim, who were able to secure a babysitter for the night. Even one of my prego friends came; she appreciated the fact that Piece only allows smoking at the bar and we were far away from the second-hand fumes.

Planb_3 After pitchers of beer and pizza, half of the group headed to The Underground, (shocker), where they hoped to catch the tail end of a private Dom Perignon event. Some things never change. The rest of us – including me – headed instead to Plan B, a new bar on Milwaukee Avenue that will officially open to the public this Friday, April 20th. It’s a good sign when a bar that hasn’t “opened” yet is packed to capacity. We were barely able to squeeze our group into the 2,300-square-foot space (“should’ve had a plan C,” one friend said), but I loved the bar. It’s intricately designed with painstaking attention to detail, such as the beautiful black glass chandeliers hanging above the bar, one of which is an old relic from the Ambassador West Hotel. Another trendy touch is the stripper poles – something you see a lot of these days at neighborhood bars. I took a spin of course, until one of The Marrieds kicked me off to commandeer it. (For a full review of Plan B, check out my “Nightspotting” column in the July issue of Chicago magazine.)

Saturday night the celebration continued – so much for humble birthdays. One of the boys arranged a dinner at N9NE Steakhouse for a small group made up mostly of Team Lush. I forgot how much I love that place; the minute we walked in, I felt transported to Las Vegas, which is one of my favorite weekend destinations. If only there were slot machines among the mirrored pillars and abundance of plastic surgery. After a very large dinner and many drinks, we moved upstairs to ghostbar for another friend’s birthday party. He has one every year – hundreds of people show up for it, a very East Bank Club scene. Ghostbar isn’t a venue I typically frequent unless for private parties. Now I know why: It was so dark we could barely see two feet in front of us, much less locate the bar to order a drink. So one by one, we each went back downstairs to hang out at the bar in N9NE, which perfectly accommodated all of our friends.

I’ll admit it: The party didn’t exactly end there. I accompanied the boys to The Underground for more late-night boozing. It was such a zoo, and the last time I’m allowing myself to stay out that late because, after all, nothing good can possibly happen after 2 a.m. What can I say? You can take the girl out of the party but you can’t take the party out of the girl. Even a 33-year-old woman.