New Year’s Eve: Chicago Style

Chicago-Style New Year’s Eve parties aren’t topped with neon relish and sport peppers, but they are some of the hottest events of the year.

While toasting the New Year at home is just fine, especially if you can’t get a babysitter, this is the time of the year when you can dress up and paint the town red. Many of the huge hotel bashes are sold out, so why not stay local? Here’s my roundup of local establishments that are throwing one heck of a party this year:

Mrs. Murphy & Son’s Irish Bistro: For only $50 to $75 bucks, celebrate Irish style with an open bar, appetizers, party favors and a champagne toast. Sounds like a good time to me!

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba: There’s no cover to ring the New Year in over tapas. From 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., cocktails are half price. This Lettuce Entertain You gem will also be providing a champagne toast when the clock strikes midnight.

Rockit Bar & Grill: All of Billy Dec’s establishments are hosting some sort of event, but this one is a great deal. For $95 to $125, you will get to partake in an open bar, appetizers, a dinner buffet, party favors and a midnight champagne toast. Oh, and to cure the hangover you might have, Rockit is including a 20% of coupon for New Year’s Day brunch.

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Big Star: I know you wouldn’t think about this Wicker Park gem for New Year’s Eve. There’s no cover and you can spend the night with specialty cocktails and tacos. That sounds like my kind of party.

Fat Cat: This Uptown bar is hosting a costume contest. Come dressed in your best fedora or flapper dress for a 1920’s-themed bash. A $100 gift card is on the line. There’s no cover for this event. Canapes and mini-sandwiches are on the menu along with Templeton Rye Prohibition cocktails.

Where are you spending New Year’s Eve? Share your neighborhood gems with me on Twitter: @RyanKDean.

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The Windy City’s Bourbon Scene

I’ve attended many events in the city and the suburbs this past year and Bourbon has been on the menu almost everywhere I’ve been. This is definitely a trend that I don’t mind getting on board with.

Let’s talk about what sets Bourbon apart from other types of whiskey. Most Bourbon comes from Bourbon County in Kentucky and is made from corn. Legally, it must be made in the United States and must follow certain regulations during its creation to be labeled as Bourbon. While many prefer to drink their bourbon neat or on the rocks, it’s also the star of the Manhattan, the Old Fashion and the Mint Julep.

But Bourbon is just not for Derby parties anymore. Chicago has one of the hottest Bourbon scenes. Here’s a rundown of some of the best places to get your Bourbon on in the city:

  • Delilah’s: This punk spot on Lincoln Avenue serves more than 125 whiskeys and specializes in Bourbon. From Jim Beam, Wild Turkey and Knob Creek to Kentucky Pride, Eagle Rare and Old Grand Dad, you’ll find something that’s just your style.
  • Club Lago: This River North Italian gem doesn’t have any beer on tap, but houses ten different Bourbons. Who need wine when you can have Bourbon!
  • Twisted Spoke: The Spoke has the largest whiskey selection in Chicago – totaling 318 bottles – and all of it is half-price on Wednesday. Don’t get scared off by the bikers; they are part of the experience.
  • Stanley’s: There’s nothing like southern hospitality and Stanley’s Kitchen brings it. The bartenders have been known to leave a bottle of Kessler American Bourbon at the end of the bar along with empty shot glasses. Free Bourbon for all!

Is Bourbon your drink of choice? Did I miss a good spot on this list? Hit me up on Twitter, @RyanKDean, and let me know where you like to go.