I start this week by making my only new year resolution: I resolve to visit (and report on) one new club every
month; gay, straight, in-between, whatever. I encourage all of you to do the same. You are cheating yourself if
you stay locked into a certain scene. Don't get me wrong, I have my favorites on Halsted. I'd even defend them
with my life if necessary. But really, take yourself somewhere new. Head out to that club you've always heard of
but never visited. Follow a new DJ around town. Kick the vodka & cran and sip a REAL cocktail somewhere
posh. Drink a cheap beer somewhere gauche. Chicago is so vibrantly beautiful and diverse, you are bound to
find something new out there that you absolutely love. All it takes is a little information. That's why I'm here
I ate too much over the holidays. Cookies, turkey, ham, spanakopita, tiropitakia, you name it, my
glorious mother cooks it. After all that
eating, I need to seriously sweat it out on the dance floor. One of my
favorites? Smartbar. Located underneath the Metro near Clark and Waveland, this subterranean club is where I
go to work out my stress (and that extra slice of
spanakopita) on the dance floor.
The entrance on
Clark Street is usually brightly lit with velvet rope markers guiding the line. Check your coat right after paying the
cover, which varies with the DJ. The club heats up pretty quickly, so you won't want your jacket in tow. Besides,
who wants to dance up a sweat in a coat?
After descending the very-NYC flight of stairs, you arrive in the
first section of the club. A large bar occupies one wall, with small tables on a raised platform against the other.
There is a large much-coveted booth next to the entrance to the restrooms, and a photo booth next to the stairs.
Photo booths are my weakness. Not only do I love taking pictures in them, the voyeur in me loves watching
people pile inside.
Cross over to the main room and enter the world of the dancer. The music dominates
the atmosphere, loudly pumping from the well- designed sound system. Live DJ's on the weekends spin all
luscious underground house
variants, from deep and progressive grooves to bright and happy
tracks. During the week, the sounds change from night to night, but the crowds are always alive.
weekend crowd comes to dance, and you can see it on the dancers' faces. They smile, they laugh, and they
focus their moves to the beat with an intensity seldom seen elsewhere. The crowd isn't gay or straight. They
are people who like to dance, and everyone is welcome on the floor.
If you get thirsty, the dance floor has
a large L-shaped bar against the back wall. Both bars in the club are well stocked and the prices are fair for the
area. All of the bartenders are incredibly nice, and tipping them well is definitely worth it.
succeeded in creating a mixed environment where everyone feels comfortable. With great music and an
excellent staff, grab a friend or two and go underground to sweat it out on the floor!
As always, my heart
beats with you in 4/4 – Peter Mavrik