Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New night spots for West Town, River North

Clutch's huge outdoor patio is only a stone's throw from long-time West Town favorite Twisted Spoke—which boasts an awesome rooftop lounge. (Photo: Courtesy of Urban Daddy Chicago)

Urban Daddy discovers an abandoned West Town auto repair shop that's been transformed into neighborhood hang Clutch—destined to become famous for its deep-fried hot dogs:

"There's The Ripper—the aforementioned deep-fried dog, slathered with tangy mustard-onion relish—and the Clutcheasy, a third-pound burger that's completely enveloped with a half-pound of crusty cheese."

Also in nightlife news, 312DD had the scoop on Cuvee way back in December, when an Ultimate Insider revealed that Latin-laced club Buzz was closing in favor of a more mainstream spot from the guys behind Enclave.

But what we didn't know was the bar's concept. Metromix reports it's a "super-exclusive spot for the city's elite and in-town celebs to sip from a list of worldly sparkling wines and champagne cocktails." Also, "There is not currently a guest list in place and the door policy and cover charge parameters are still up in the air at this point." WTF?!

On its first weekend, they did manage to attract reality "stars" Khloe and Kortney Kardashian, and a bonified celebrity, Vince Vaughan.

We will see how long the "super exclusive" concept lasts before the reality of the recession sets in . . . Oh, and let's not forget the fact that they've got heavy-duty competition right across the street from the already established after-hours VIP lounge RiNo.

BBQ, Beer & Beats


Summer's winding down, but it's never too late to take a barbecue grilling class. Smoke Daddy's hosting one on its patio, which includes a half-slab of Baby Back ribs, roasted peppers, grilled steak fries, two Coronas and a bottle of Smoke Daddy sauce to take home. Starts at 8pm tonight. $30.

Head to the Warehouse District's Bottom Lounge for the free tastings by McAuslan Brewing, Quebec's foremost micro-brewery. Guests will sample the likes of St-Ambroise Pale Ale, as well as St-Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale, The Great St-Ambroise Pumpkin Ale and the award-winning St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout (back on draft in Chicago following a 10-year hiatus). 6-10pm tonight. Free.

If you'd rather sip cocktails, Brasserie JO is your spot tonight. They're continuing the Summer Spirits Class with a lesson on French liqueurs that includes tastings and passed appetizers. You'll sample the Martini JO, Summer Thyme, La Violette and Kir Royal Alsace. 6:30-7:30pm. Reservations required; $1.01.

If you get off from work early, treat yourself to one of the Roman-style pizzas at Pizzeria Via Stato, in River North. We prefer to sit on the patio watching the bustling State Street action, while chowing down on pies made with housemade sausage, hand-pulled mozzarella or seasonal vegetable toppings. They're all half-price 2:30-4:30pm Monday-Friday.

More scrumptious Italian fare's on special at Follia, where guests get to enjoy a $28 four-course prix-fixe menu offered every Tuesday and Wednesday. You'll get your choice of appetizer, soup or salad, pasta, entree and dessert.

And Blue 13's final Summer Rock 'N' Roll Dinner happens Wednesday. The theme, The Bands That Shaped The '90s, includes music from Nirvana, Soul Coughing, Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam complementing each course. Dinner starts promptly at 7:15pm and reservations are required. $50.