LIQUID COURAGE
Weekend Pick: 2014 Chicago Beer Festival at Union Station

Admission is $40, and tickets are only available online. If you plan on eating, drinking, and playing at the festival until you're just drunk enough, the Chicago Beer Festival has partnered with Uber to get you there or back home for free. Just use the code CHIBEERFEST14 to get up to $25 off your first ride.

What: 2014 Chicago Beer Festival at Union Station

When: Saturday, March 22nd, 1pm

Where: Union Station, 210 S. Canal St., Chicago, IL

DELICIOUS DEBUTS
Glimpses of Spring with Chef Andrè at 54 Below

Theatre District, NY – Descend into the space below the once-bustling Studio 54 at 254 W 54th St. and be swayed by an ambiance more Prohibition chic than Supper Club. A richness of purples, reds, and dark cherry wood adorns the main room, where the Steinway commands as much stage presence as the brocade-patterned walls behind it. 54 Below is the place Broadway goes to unwind, and with the icecaps finally melting in New York City, we’re here to bring you a peek of some of Chef Andrè Marrero’s favored offerings, as well as new additions to their spring menu.

DELICIOUS DEBUTS
Hudson Clearwater: New York City's Newest Secret

If you haven’t heard of Hudson Clearwater yet, that’s no mistake. Since its recent opening, it’s become NYC’s newest “secret restaurant”. Complete with a concealed entrance upon arrival, you are greeted with a boarded up storefront in place of a door. However, once you find your way in (hint: there’s a green door off to the side), you’ll realize that Hudson Clearwater is way more than just the potentially gimmicky speakeasy-style hype.

The decor is romantic without being overwrought. Through the green door, you enter into a lush garden (where al fresco seating will be available once it gets a little warmer), and pass into a dining room where marble countertops are tempered with flowers and rustic wood, and everything is bathed in low, warm candlelight. What’s really worth raving about, however, is the food. Head Chef Wes Long is a veteran of acclaimed Brooklyn spot Applewood, and it shows. His menu explores and masters rustic New American cuisine, using highly seasonal ingredients to create totally outstanding dishes. Offerings like the melt-in-your-mouth buttered clams (served in a delicate parsley-lemon bouillon with gnocchi and sautéed kale) re-imagine basic foods imaginatively and to fabulous ends, while those like the Crispy Duck Breast (served with baby carrots, cabbage, broccoli rabe, pickled scallion, and a savory-sweet honey Dijon crème fraiche) add small touches to absolutely blow classic dishes out of the water. The deserts are of the same very high caliber: we suggest the Meyer Lemon Bar, which has a perfectly crumbly graham crust, and is complemented super-splendidly by fig compote and lemon Chantilly. While you’re there, also be sure to check out the expertly curated drinks program, which boasts simple but elegant cocktails that are crafted to compliment Chef Long’s cuisine. Of specific note are the Hudson Mule (bison-grass vodka, ginger beer, lime, and a candied ginger garnish) and the Antebellum (cognac, rye, dry curaçao, paychaud’s and orange bitters, and an absinthe rinse).

CULTURE CLUB
Urban Girl Squad Brings You An Absinthe Mixology Lesson
LIQUID COURAGE
NYC Speakeasies: Get Your Prohibition On

Boardwalk Empire is coming back on September 8th (to the excitement of many fans). In honor of the 4th Season of the antics of Nucky Thompson and Company, we felt like it was time to highlight the best of the time-warped, Speakeasy-inspired bars in New York. Just because Prohibition is over doesn't mean you can't live like a 1920's outlaw at one of these retro joints.

Club 21, 21 W 57th St

8 Stuyvesant St., 2nd Floor

48 W 17th St.

324 W 46th St.

CULTURE CLUB
Historic Bars in Chicago

These five Historic Chicago Bars have withstood some of the Windy City’s greatest challenges, and welcomed some of its greatest traditions. And, many of these establishments survived one of nightlife’s greatest challenges, Prohibition. The Berghoff, Southport Lanes, Schaller’s Pump, The Back Room and Twin Anchors have stood the time for different reasons, but one thing they definitely have in common, is that they offer a good time.

The Berghoff

The 113-year old establishment, located in the heart of the loop, was owned and inspired by the beer brewing West German immigrant, Joseph Berghoff. In its heyday, the bar sold beer for nickels and offered free sandwiches to their patrons. And, when the prohibition affected Chicago nightlife, Berghoff kept its doors open, functioning as a full service restaurant, also selling ’near beer’. In 1969, Berghoff abandoned its ‘Men Only’ policy after member of the National Organization for Women stood at the bar and demanded service.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Brando’s Speakeasy

Brando's Speakeasy, the quaint downtown establishment, boasts an intimate lounge with an unyielding supply of dancing, drinking, and karaoke. The doors open at 10:00am daily and don’t close until 2:00am (3am on Saturdays). Between those hours, the friendly staff tentatively welcomes patrons of every background into their warm, cozy, and dim atmosphere. The bar is the perfect setting for reunions, a girls' night out, or, if you're brave, you can finally live those fantasies of singing "Don't Stop Believing" outside the shower.

One of Brando’s most notable attractions is their raised platform and well-tuned karaoke machine at the head of the speakeasy. The machine is plum-loaded with 250,000 songs: lyrics and music loaded for anything from 1960’s ballads to present day hits. When you decide to take a seat, the MC/DJ plays a rotation of dance-inducing music and nod-worthy soundtracks.

CULTURE CLUB
NYC's Best New Hotspots

In a city where nightlife is in abundance, and you can find absolutely anything with the touch of a button, it may be easier to stick to the same old places we know and love. We all know that good service and atmosphere are a 50/50 chance, so trying something different can be hard. Well, if you're craving something, or some place new, then feel free to break out of those old-habit chains, NYC and welcome these hot new bars and lounges.

Living Room Bar and Terrace, 123 Washington Street, New York, NY 10006

Starwood has read our minds recently, and given FiDi this eclectic nouveau lounge, the Living Room Bar and Terrace. This chic downtown desire opened August 18th 2011, just in time for the end of summer. Like a billowy ocean wave, the LED lighting installation by Lamella, drapes across the ceiling to give a fun, open vibe unlike most of the usual modern bars of Wall Street. The lights reflect the black granite floors to create a vortex-like (think Tron:Legacy) atmosphere. But don’t worry, you won't get stuck in Tron world for too long; the neutral tan leather and purple accents warm the space to give a homier feel. And how could we forget the floor to ceiling windows, the chic wraparound terrace and most incredibly, the view of downtown Manhattan. If you’re bored with the view (or hungry) there are specially designed board games, light bites and an exciting cocktail list created by Charlotte Voisey of Rose Bar. Prices start at $15 with specialty options like the Lychee Blossom- Belvedere orange blossom with lychee juice, lemon, and peychaud bitters or the Bond Street Sparkler- Champagne with elderflower liquor with blackberries, and fresh mint.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Death & Co. $500 giveaway

We like breaking the law. Well, not really. But we do like the idea of going against proper protocol and avoiding rules (as long as it doesn't get us into too much trouble). This is why East Village's Death & Co. is one of our favorite bars in the city. The dim light makes it a sexy spot for late night cocktails, while it's wooden decor keeps it classy. Death & Co. breathes Prohibition Era air with its quaint intimate feel. The mixologists will blow your mind away (and probably your taste buds too) with their alcohol concoctions. Perfectionists at heart, cocktails are mixed over and over again until bartenders deem them flawless. You can also share a punch bowl --with any alcohol or cocktail, which serves around 4 people. Spiced-up punch straight out from a high school dance anyone? (We told you, we like breaking laws!)