For some people, another birthday is the perfect opportunity to make themselves the center of attention at a big party with all your friends, family and co-workers. For others, it’s just a reason to share some drinks with their closest friends to try and forget they’re another year older. No matter what you like to do on your birthday, Chicago offers plenty of options to mark your day the way you want.
2771 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
If you want to throw a great party with a lot of friends, Delilah’s in Lincoln Park is a great choice, especially if your friends all have different tastes in alcohol. This two-story bar in Lincoln Park brags that it has 300 choices of whiskey, more than 200 different beers and 700 choices of liquor overall. It also has live DJs or bands every night – or one of the best juke boxes in the city if you want to pick your own music – regular movie screenings and pinball and pool tables to keep the fun going all night.
Don’t worry about strangers crowding out your birthday party, either. You can rent out the entire second floor for a couple hours for $50 an hour. Beer, wine and liquor packages run from $10 to $20 per person.
5526 N. Lincoln Ave
What better way to make yourself the center of attention on your birthday than belting out your favorite songs during a night of karaoke? Lincoln Karaoke in Lincoln Square offers private rooms of various sizes so you can sing the night away without worrying about strangers laughing you off the stage or, worse, hogging the mike all night.
Each room features couches, a plasma TV, gigantic remote controls and a selection of more than 7,000 songs, including American, Spanish, Korean and Chinese tunes. For parties of 10 or more, enjoy a complimentary bottle of champagne or cake. And the Korean menu offers standbys such as steamed dumplings and wings chicken wings, or you can experiment a bit and check out the hae-mul pajun, a Korean-style seafood pancake with squid, shrimp and mussels.
Most domestic beers cost $3 per bottle and the servers will gladly deliver drinks late into the night while they endure your attempts to imitate Bruce Springsteen, Tom Jones, Joan Jett or Tina Turner.
Seven Ten Lounge
2747 N. Lincoln Ave.
Loud music not your style? Seven Ten Lounge is a great way for a low-key birthday party. Eight bowling lanes, six pool tables and a few video games will help keep the fun going, though be prepared to keep your own score if you go rolling. The crowds can really pack the place on the weekends, but luckily, you can reserve lanes for your party if you call ahead of time or make reservations on their website.
Or if you just want to sit down and hang out with your friends for a bit, you can stay out of the game room and enjoy a good selection of beers and martinis or even have a bite to eat from a menu that includes pizzas, quesadillas, salads and sandwiches. The bar area is separated from the bowling lanes, so the noise from the bowlers won’t be too distracting if you want to have a good conversation with your pals.
The Rocking Horse
2535 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Looking for a simple, no frills birthday party? Try out The Rocking Horse in Logan Square. It offers an attractive dive bar experience, with black leather booths and richly stained wooden tables and floors.
With a dozen beers on tap and another 50-plus available by the bottle, you’ll have plenty of choices for your birthday toast. And the menu offers a great selection of appetizers in addition to the typical pub food. Appetizers include items like sashimi squares, homemade wontons, and an irresistible series of french fry and tater tot platters with a range of toppings from cheese and gravy to lemon, feta, oregano, or oil and vinegar.
2049 W. Division St.
Another great choice for an intimate no frills birthday celebration, don’t let Small Bar’s name deceive you. Yes, the Wicker Park bar definitely sports a small location, but it’s drink selection is anything but. The beer list boasts more than 125 selections and the servers will happily offer some suggestions for those who only recognize a couple of the names on the list.
There’s a lovely outdoor patio for enjoying a warm evening chatting with your friends, a great jukebox if you want to listen to some tunes and a casual atmosphere to keep things low-key. There’s also a great menu of food, including burgers, jalapeno poppers, strips of fried calamari, hand-dipped cheese curds battered in tempura beer, spicy hummus with all-you-can-eat pita and four varieties of personal pizza. You can even enjoy a weekend brunch if you want to start your birthday party well before the sun goes down.