Thursday, March 18, 2010

Take Your 'Gate' To Glitter & Git Down . . .

"Will & Grace" cast (Photo: NBC Universal)

Just found out one of my favorite friends is coming to town this weekend.

He's got style, he's got savoir faire, and of course, he's impossibly cool.

Which means that he's probably going to be impossible to impress. Luckily, what's working in my favor is that he's pretty open minded, and doesn't want to only hang out in the gay bars.

That makes him the perfect Gate (Gay Date for a Straight Woman, but not this) for the second-ever Glitter party happening at Le Passage tonight.

Going down the third Thursday of each month, this Studio 54-esque bash feels almost as good as the real thing and brings back the type of crowd Le Passage was known for when it first opened 10 years ago.

Highlights of the first Glitter party included an endless parade of colorful drag queens, models sashaying around in barely there attire, DJ Zebo spinning deep disco hits, and a guy taking a bubble bath on the dance floor. Yeah, you read that right.

Now, what will they do for an encore?!

10pm-4am Thursday. Door cover varies (depending on how fierce you are on the red carpet).

More spots for a fabulous Gate. . .

The Living Room's cushy leather banquettes are ideal for gabbing it up on a good "Gate" night. (Photo: W-City Center)


A best bet just in case we go overboard on the $$$ at Glitter is the new Happy Hour menu at Elate. For $3, you get a grilled chicken breast sandwich, BBQ chicken pizza, half-pound burger, green chili pork with tortillas, or seasoned hand-cut fries. 4:30-6:30pm Monday-Friday; at bar only with beverage purchase.

If he has his heart set on a nice juicy piece of—ahem!—meat, I'll definitely keep Jbar in mind for the Meat Madness deal. They're offering the award-winning, 55-day dry-aged ribeye, an order of truffle Asiago fries and a beer for $30. Happens every Wednesday and Thursday during March Madness; several TVs will be tuned in to the game.

A shopping excursion is inevitable when hanging with this particular Gate, so we'll definitely have to hit up Fred’s at Barneys New York, after checking out the new spring lines at the upscale retail store. My favorite perch in the resto is at the bar, where we can dish with seasoned mixologist Clarence Mills, who always whips up something special for us off the drink menu.


I love how Friday's always a free-for-all, so anything goes and it must start with a sexy little happy hour. How about The Living Room, W Chicago - City Center, a popular after-work spot for nearby traders and tourists. Plus, the new menu is ideal for light noshing, particularly share-able plates of blue cheese polenta cakes with leeks and smoked tomato sauce; tempura shrimp in a spicy orange-peanut sauce; and the tuna and salmon tartare. Our favorite new cocktail here is My Favorite New Drink—a hand-crafted concoction made with muddled cucumber, Hendrick's gin, simple syrup and orange juice.

Since no epic Gate weekend in Chicago is complete without hitting up Rush Street, a trip to Hugo's Frog Bar is in order. We're just in luck this month as the glorious seafood spot fetes its 13th anniversary with 13 oysters for $13. Since you cannot possibly fill up on those, staying for dinner in the lounge is inevitable to chow down on some of the best fresh fish selections in town. Personal faves include miso-marinated sea bass and the pan-seared red grouper in tomato caper brown butter.

My boy's single and needs to mingle, so it's time to head to Boys Town for a late night of absolute madness. After making the rounds at the usual suspects along the Halsted strip, I wouldn't mind settling in at Hydrate, where the music is on fire. A sexy, multi-ethnic crowd is on the dance floor, which is always a good thing. Ohhhh, and this Friday is the Hot Ass Contest, where one person will take home $150 for the tightest tush. Show starts at 11pm.

Hearty's Rabbit Corn Dog.


If we so dared splurged for afternoon tea, it would have to be the Royal-Tea at Peninsula. For $95 a person, we'd get regular tea fare of finger sandwiches and mini-cakes ($36), plus bubbly, caviar, extra desserts and savory bites. 2:30-4:30pm seatings.

Since we're certain to be liquored up while hangin' all day in the Gold Coast, we'll have to recruit a few friends and head to The Blue Frog for karaoke. It's only a $5 taxi cab away, so that's enough time to get the pipes ready for some awesome 1980s pop. The room's tiny and the waiting list's long, but tipping the deejay just enough should get the home court to our advantage.


A promising new brunch option is over at Dolce, in Avondale, for generous portions of Filipino fare. It's a bargain at $6, plus $3 Bloody Marys. They're also serving up decent maki rolls for $7-$10. Noon-3pm.

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago+HUB 51=HUB 2 HUB. We'd better make that an early brunch if we plan on making it to the dance performance that begins at 3pm at the Harris Theater in Millennium Park. The after-party happens 5:30-7:30pm at HUB 51, and we'll get to schmooze with the dancers. $75 per person. Get tickets here.


And Chicago Chef Week joins forces with Foodie for the second-annual event that's today through March 28. A number of noteworthy, chef-driven restos will be doing $20 lunches and $30 dinners, but for our farewell (for now!) dinner, we'll need to choose between Mercadito for mini Mahi Mahi tacos, Hearty for the rabbit hot dog, or Duchamp for Thailand Bouillabaisse of Chilean sea bass, mussels and rock shrimp.

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