Thursday, November 29, 2007

Big props for Bin 36

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Raise your glass to BIN 36 (339 N. Dearborn St., 312-755-9463), the River North wine bar/restaurant/retail store, which just received the coveted Award of Unique Distinction by Wine Enthusiast Magazine in the annual Restaurant Awards, for its "dedication to delivering the most wine-friendly experience to [its] patrons." In recognition, BIN 36 will appear in the magazine's upcoming February 2008 issue and will be listed on its searchable online restaurant database throughout the year.

In a congratulatory letter, Editor/Publisher Adam Strum noted, "BIN 36 is one of a select number of restaurants in North America, out of thousands of applicants, to be honored in 2007 with this level of recognition."

As a winner, BIN 36 is recognized for displaying excellence, creativity, knowledge and vision in its wine offerings, from Wine Director Brian Duncan's nightly pairings from the restaurant's extensive selection of 50 wines by the glass and more than 400 by the bottle, to special wine promotions, to the multitude of wine-centric classes and events the restaurant offers its guests each year.

DJ Kiss puckers up tonight, plus other events around town

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DJ Kiss performs tonight at NV Penthouse Lounge.

Tonight's an especially busy night, but one of the events I'm looking forward to is New York's DJ Kiss, who's flying in to spin at NV Penthouse Lounge (116 W. Hubbard St., 312-329-9960). You may not have heard of her yet, but Puffy (or whatever he's calling himself these days), Big Boi of OutKast fame, actress Kerry Washington and Salt N' Pepa are many of the high-profile stars who have called on her to play their parties. I checked her out a few months ago when she stopped in to spin at J Bar (610 N. Rush St., 312-660-7200), and was so impressed that I profiled her for See what all the fuss is about when she plays 9pm-2am for a Chambord-sponsored event. Free.

Also on tap:

TK Men, Haberdash and Halo [For Men] host an event you don't want to miss. An all-male fashion show (!!!!!) happens with some of the sexiest local male models swaggering down the runway. It's free to get in, but you must email for guest list. There's complimentary cocktails, and a silent auction benefits the Howard Brown Health Center. 9-11pm at Crimson Lounge, 333 N. Dearborn St.

Make-a-Wish Foundation's Associate Board holiday social set takes place at Underground (56 W. Illinois St.) from 7-10pm. The party includes a deejay spinning contemporary tunes, hors d'oeuvres, cocktails and a raffle. To register: $30 (online)/$35 (at door).

Or you can "Ring in the Red" at the American Red Cross of Great Chicago's Auxiliary Board benefit at Kerryman (661 N. Clark St.). Get there for complimentary appetizers, plus a host of drink and beer specials for $2 (!!). 6-9pm. $20 in advance; $25 at door. Call 312-729-6130 for more info.

And the "Kimpton Red Romp: A Red Hot Night Benefiting AIDSCare" is what's up over at Hotel Monaco (225 W. Wabash Ave.). For a $5 donation, attendees can expect the red-carpet treatment, including one red-themed cocktail and tasty appetizers. They’ll be able to shop for the season’s hottest red fashions from SHE and Flirt boutiques and jewelry from local Chicago designer Dana Rebecca Designs, with 10% of all purchases benefiting AIDSCare. Also on the docket is a silent auction featuring a little black dress by Sweetface from SHE (retail value $502), a private shopping party at Flirt for you and your 10 girlfriends and more. 5-7:30pm. RSVP at or

Deal of the day . . . (as seen on 'WGN Morning News' today)

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Consider swanky sports lounge WestEnd for your co-worker sponsored holiday bash.

How about ditching that corporate-sponsored holiday shindig this year and hosting your own? Or perhaps you just want to cut loose after the main festivities with a crew of the coolest co-workers from the office.

Regardless, as the worker bees, it’s not like you can bankroll one of those fancy fetes yourself, so I’m recommending one of these spots where you don’t have to worry about room rentals, deposits, package deals, etc.

Just show up and hang at:

Junior’s Sports Lounge (724 W Maxwell St., 312-421-2277). Massive sports bar has great deals every Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday’s game night features $10 Bud Light pitchers, $13 buckets of Bud bottles, plus free pool, a hilarious bean bag game, Wii bowling and board games; or head here Wednesday for half-priced appetizers (excluding wings), $5 mojitos and specialty martinis.

Landmark (1633 N. Halsted St., 312-587-1600). Weekly “Wino Wednesdays” at this trendy Lincoln Park lounge offers half off on bottles of wine from the “50 under $50” list, $5 Skyy vodka martinis and free pizzas from their wood-burning oven.

Nacional 27 (325 W. Huron St., 312-664-2727). Or you can always test your co-workers' skills on the dance floor (or show off yours!) with Latin Street Beat Thursdays with South American appetizers and cocktails for $3-$4. There’s also Latin house music and live percussion. Woo hoo!

WestEnd Bar & Grill (1326 W. Madison St., 312-733-0574). Unwind with your work pals at this swanky new sports bar in the West Loop. Thursdays are ideal for their $10 pizzas that come with unlimited toppings such as sausage, basil, arugula, fresh garlic, mushrooms, black olives or pepperoni. Each serves up to four people and they go great with the $16 Goose Island Honkers buckets.

Zocalo (358 W. Ontario St., 312-302-9977). No deals on appetizers where famed chef Dudley Nieto resides, but the Thursday drink specials are perfect when you need to save a few bucks. For $5, you can swill sangria Roja (with red wine, Presidente brandy, triple sec, mango and guava juices) or the Citrus Cazuela (with Milagro citrus tequila, Fresca, white wine, and grapefruit, orange, lemon lime juices) all night long. That’ll go fine with their fresh plaintain and corn chips served with a flight of signature guacamoles that are spicy, tangy and sweet.