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Top Rated Nightlife in Chicago

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Green Mill Cocktail Lounge

A landmark for jazz music in Chicago, Green Mill Jazz Club is a must-visit for aficionados of this genre. Established in 1907, it is steeped in history, with photographic testaments and artifacts dotting its walls. Back in the early 20th Century, this club was American gangster Al Capone's local haunt. Over the years, it retained its old-world charm and the aura of the 1940s with Art Deco interiors to its credit. On the menu are signature cocktails and spirits. This lounge plays host to jazz concerts by established and emerging musicians like the Sabertooth Jazz Quintet. Also, don't miss their popular Poetry Slam event.

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Jazz Showcase

Since 1947, Jazz Showcase has drawn considerable crowds with its top-notch acts, even after its much ballyhooed expulsion from the Blackstone Hotel a few years ago. Expect to pay for what you get. This is a first-class operation, from the tuxedoed staff down to the drink selection. On the walls are photos of jazz greats who have played at owner Joel Segal's clubs over the years. Take a moment to be impressed by the dazzling array of legends who have graced Chicago's classiest spot for live jazz.

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Maria's Packaged Goods and Community Bar

This dive bar and beer garden is a place you have to visit for more than just one reason. The ambiance of Maria's is warm, intimate and laid back. The decor is made up of chandeliers made out of beer bottles and yellow lights. The bar serves over 475 different beers, which is a delight for beer connoisseurs. Come to just sit back and enjoy your drink.

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The Violet Hour

The oft-overlooked location of this intimate bar and lounge features a hidden door amongst a brightly painted mural. Once inside, patrons enter the striking lounge through heavy velvet curtains into a room full of high-backed armchairs and subtle violet tinted lighting. The uniformed bartenders keep the spirits at this James Beard-winning bar flowing, serving expertly made classic and creative cocktails, while the upscale bar bites satiate hungry patrons. Unlike other establishments, this bar and lounge restricts cell phone use, which makes it the perfect place to disconnect from technology and connect with your companions.

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Three Dots and a Dash

Inspired by the Morse code for victory, Three Dots and a Dash was a cocktail drink invented by Don the Beachcomber, the founder of tiki bars, to commemorate the success of the Allied team during the World War II. Owner and mixologist, Paul Mcgee, named his brainchild after this popular drink. Three Dots and a Dash blends together a traditional tiki bar feel with modern elements. The menu features typical rum concoctions like Mai Tai, Halekulani, Pago Pago, Jet Pilot and the eponymous, Three Dots and a Dash. During its opening in 2013, this place received famous visitors like Aston Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Danny Masterson and Jenny McCarthy.

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Big Star

Set in a 1940s gas station, Big Star pays homage to the honky tonk era of Bakersfield with hillbilly music played nightly and the bar brimming with single barrel bourbon, tequila, cocktail and beer. This late-night destination is also known for its Mexican street food influenced menu. Dig into their dishes like Taco de Panza, Taco Al Pastor, Taco de Pollo Pibil and The Walking Taco. Take a sip of drinks like Lone Star, Old Charter 101, Elijah Craig, Bakersfield Buck, Grievous Angel and Herradura Anejo. Cash only.

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