Chicago’s Unique BYOBs

November 17, 2011 6:00 AM

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I’m hooked on BYOBs. I’ll trade a $9 glass of wine for an $8 bottle any day. What an ingenious idea, and it’s even better when you nix the corkage fees. It took some elbowing, but my fiancé and I have agreed on a couple wines that we both enjoy. As we work BYOB outings into our nightlife, I decided to investigate some options that aren’t just your standard eateries. These locales offer a twist on the bring-your-own-booze concept. Check them out!

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Bottle & Bottega

2900 N Lincoln Ave
(between Lakewood Ave & George St)
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 313-9133

Find your inner artist at Bottle & Bottega with hands-on art sessions. The approach combines various forms of hands-on art instruction with a BYOB. Events are held either in the studio or at a venue around the city. When it’s time to paint, an artist will walk you step-by-step to painting the canvas of your choice. All classes come with aprons and the supplies needed to create your own masterpiece.

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Playground Theater

3209 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 871-3793
Hours: Mon-Thu, Sat 8pm-9:30pm, 10pm-12am; Fri 8pm-9:30pm, 10pm-2am; Sun 7:30pm-9pm, 9:30pm-11pm

Swing by the Playground Theater, bottle in hand, for some comedy. The funny house has become an experimentation destination, launching prominent groups and nurturing newbies toward finding their comedic voice. Ensembles serve up improv and original sketch comedy and customized shows for corporations and other groups. Shows average about $5 to $10 for 90 minutes.

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Lakeshore Sail Charters

401 E Illinois St # 330
Chicago, IL 60611
(773) 404-5800
CBS Directory for Lakeshore Sail Charters

Bring your own wine or beer on a tour of Lake Michigan. Sailboats depart from Burnham Harbor for tall ship tours and Museum Campus for schooner tours on a year-round basis. Tours are two-to-three hours and cost around $50 per person. See fireworks Wednesday and Saturday nights.

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Chicago Hauntings Tour: Archer Avenue

3920 North Claremont Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618
(888) 446-7891

Chicago’s Archer Avenue is home to some of the city’s most legendary ghost stories, including the famous Vanishing Hitchhiker, Resurrection Mary. Drink on the tour bus while learning about this road, which was constructed by poor Irish immigrants who laid down the road over an ancient Indian trail known for its spiritual powers. The slave-like conditions of their labor live on in the deep folklore of this storied region. Tours cost about $40 per person.

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Arabia Hookah Lounge

1046 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 276-2345

Stop by this BYOB hookah bar and lounge for hookahs, the multi-stemmed instrument for smoking tobacco. Dozens of tobacco flavors include white grape, mango, and rose mint. Listen to a mixture of American, hip hop, Arabic, and Hispanic tunes in an authentic Arabian atmosphere. Friday and Saturday night entertainment includes Arabian belly dancing. There is a $5 corkage fee.

Jenny Schooley is a Chicago-based writer and editor. She currently works in publishing for an academic organization.

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