Editor’s note: As of today, you can follow Amalie’s exploits on our sister site Chicagonow.com. Why? It’s simple: We think The Chaser is the best thing to hit local bars since Bell’s Winter White Ale—and Chicagoans deserve more Amalie. Look for multiple updates each week on Chicago Now (we’ll post a snippet of each entry on Chicagomag.com to tantalize your nightlife taste buds)—and help spread the word.

Kit Kat Lounge

Just when I was gearing up for winter hibernation, the bait nightspots are dangling to lure drinkers in from the cold got the best of me. I’d be on liver-failure alert if I tried to make it to every opening, promotion, special event, and unveiling, but here—in no particular order—are my picks for the five most tempting reasons to leave the house this week. Well, these and the fact that it’s not really that bleak out. You know, for January.

1. It’s impossible to resist an invite to any event taking place within a four-block radius of my apartment, so there’s no way I’m missing tonight’s media tasting of the soon-to-debut new menu at Stanley’s Kitchen and Tap in Lincoln Park. I’m praying fried chicken is somehow involved. It’s been a while since my last visit to this neighborhood hangout—though I did experience a thrilling Michael Jordan run-in there once—so I’m curious to see who shows up for the Thursday specials (available to everyone, not just media types): $3 drafts and free bowls of chili.

2. It still stings: the humiliation that I (and the rest of Chicago) endured after being totally stood up by the cast of The Jersey Shore last weekend. The whole experience was so crushing—including the dashed plans for my Bumpit’s maiden voyage—that I almost refused to watch the new episode this week. Almost. But one cast member, J-Woww, has rescheduled her appearance at RiNo for this Saturday, January 23rd ($20 cover), and if she personally texts me to say she really wants to hang out, I guess I’ll go.

Ice Bar at Vertigo Sky Lounge

3. Always a sucker for an ice sculpture, especially when paired with a good view, I’ll definitely be checking out the just-debuted Ice Bar at Vertigo Sky Lounge. This 10-foot-long, 3,000-pound chunk of chill has taken up residence on the bar’s 26th-floor patio, and since I happen to be the owner of a new puffy coat, Vertigo sounds like the perfect place to sip a hot toddy and take in some tunes spun my friend Megan Taylor, the city’s fieriest redheaded DJ. (Check out Seen on the Scene next Monday, January 25th, for weekend photos of Vertigo’s Ice Bar.)

4. While I simply cannot be swayed by her philosophies on raw diets and the evils of dairy (I love hot cheese too much), I’m still intrigued to see what Karyn Calabrese has cooked—or should I say mixed?—up at her two-day-old West Loop bar, lounge, and restaurant, Karyn’s on Green. The “market fresh mixology” Karyn’s bartenders practice is demonstrated in such cocktails as the Green Mojito, a blend of Ten Cane rum, fresh lime juice, ginger syrup, and nutrient-packed spirulina ($9). And, for nondrinkers like Karyn, there are craft mocktails and elixirs galore. Healthy drinking: I like it. Kind of.

5. Years have passed since the last time I caught a female-impersonation show at Lake View’s Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club, but I’m looking forward to hobnobbing with the divas while checking out the spot’s newly renovated digs. The only question: Go now or hold out for the Lady Gaga–themed “Gaga Ooh La La” Grammy viewing party next Sunday? Thoughts?


Photograph: (Kit Kat Lounge) mtmchicago.com