3730 N. Clark St.
Think nightlife in Wrigleyville is all about sports bars? Think again. Smart Bar has been a premier Chicago nightclub since 1982, and hosts groundbreaking DJs from all over the world. They also showcase up-and-coming local DJ talent every Thursday and Sunday. Time Out Chicago rates Smart Bar as the No. 1 dance club in the city, and calls the Funktion One sound system “second to none.” And upstairs from Smart Bar, you can catch top rock acts live onstage at The Metro.
226 W. Ontario St.
Sound Bar made a splash when it opened in 2004, and has grown to be one of the trendiest spots in River North. Time Out Chicago says the resident DJs and costumed dancers at this multi-level, European-style club create “a spectacular scene.” Techno, house and electro are their specialties, and top touring DJs can be found on Friday nights.
The Original Mother’s
26 W. Division St.
Your own mother might have come here when she was a groovy 20-something. The Original Mother’s has been open since 1968, first hosting live bands from Chicago to the Velvet Underground and later becoming an incubator for House Music. Today, you’ll hear DJs spinning contemporary pop as you get on what remains the largest dance floor on the Division Street nightclub strip, and in the club’s own words, a “killer sound system.” Mother’s was also featured in the 1986 classic movie “About Last Night.”
Funky Buddha Lounge
728 W. Grand Ave.
Walk into the Funky Buddha Lounge and you’ll find yourself surrounded by black leather and leopard-print seats, Indian and East Asian-inspired murals along the walls, antique lighting, and of course, a dance floor that sizzles every night. Look for DJs spinning reggae, house, hip-hop, funk and a variety of other styles. Next door DJs are also spinning house and reggae at the Butterfly Social Club, which features an all-organic drink menu.
954 W. Belmont Ave.
The alternative scene that once dominated the Clark and Belmont area lives on at this renowned Lakeview club. Berlin caters largely to a gay and lesbian clientele – at least during the week – but everyone is welcome. In the words of Metromix, it’s “a melting pot of homosexuals, heterosexuals, transsexuals and omnisexuals.” Look for everything from house music old and new to industrial nights and even drag shows. Photos: Chicago Bar Project