Help me plan an awesome birthday party in Chicago.
July 25, 2005 12:08 PM   Subscribe

Help me plan the most awesomest rockin' birthday party in Chicago.

I'm turning 23, I'm in Chicago. Here are my options; I have my Dad's house in the suburbs, or I was considering renting/commandeering a bar somewhere in Chicago.

This is what I need:
I need any suggestion of themes.
I need advice on renting/showing up at a bar-Do I call beforehand? Is there a way to buy a keg for my friends and just park it so we don't have shell out tons of money once we're in the bar?

I also need recommendations for a good bar ( I don't know Chicago too well)

Or if people know much better places to have a birthday party for a 23 year old, please suggest away.

Also, other than excessive drinking, is there anything else I should be doing for my party? I've never known anything else, (I mean, except for lazer tag parties as a young lad)

The crowd is mixed, 21-26 year olds, leaning more to the indie rock side than the yuppie side. My objectives for this party: I wanna have fun, get good and drunk, and have an awesome time with my friends.

Mefites are certainly invited.
posted by geryon to Grab Bag (10 answers total)
 
2 weeks ago I did a 33rd and 36th b-day party with the theme

"Sweet twenty-sixteen and twentieth anniversary of being 13"

it was all pink (for 2 straight guys) -- tons of balloons on the celing of the pavillion, crepe paper...

I rented a pavillion at the local park from 3pm-9pm on a Friday. BYOB drinks and grillables, but I brought condiments, chips, cookies, cheese and bread.

We had an old sko0l reggae dj.

Hope this helps for ideas!
posted by k8t at 12:19 PM on July 25, 2005


Shall you include arrangements for the transportation home of your presumably too-impaired-to-drive-or-stumble-to-public-transportation guests?
posted by Cranberry at 1:42 PM on July 25, 2005


Most bars have private rooms that you can book for free (or a minimal charge). I don't know what you mean by "park a keg". If you're talking about buying your own keg and using the bar facilities, it's not going to happen.
posted by srburns at 2:37 PM on July 25, 2005


We had our wedding reception at the Hop Leaf. It was great and surpisingly affordable. The buffet was dirty cheap and plentiful at $10 a person. You can have a cash or an open bar, which we had for 3 hours. Plus you get the whole room from 4 to close. I think with 30 guest we clocked in at around $900, I can't remember the exact figure. It would be cheaper with a cash bar and no food.

And getting drunk there is not a problem, you get to pick 4 taps and have a choice of 43 types of bottled beer.
posted by corpse at 2:42 PM on July 25, 2005


Also, it's less than a mile to the redline, if you're worried about people getting home. Assuming they can get home via public transit.
posted by corpse at 2:46 PM on July 25, 2005


Spare Time Chicago is a restaurant group that owns, among other clever bars, the Lucky Strike. I looked into their facilities when searching for a reception location but decided it wasn't quite right for a wedding reception. I think they would generally rock for a birthday party, though.

You could get super crazy and see about private parties at a burlesque show.

The Music Box Theater rents its facilities for private parties (another avenue we considered with the reception) if you are a movie person.

And finally, a friend of the person who cuts my hair had her wedding reception in a ballroom of sorts that I cannot remember the name of (it's a person's name, like Jennyb's Ballroom), but she got Hot Doug's to cater it and had karaoke and was able to bring her own booze in for everyone so that's something you might consider. Sorry I can't help with the name, though.
posted by jennyb at 6:06 PM on July 25, 2005


Oh and as for your other questions:

I need advice on renting/showing up at a bar-Do I call beforehand? Is there a way to buy a keg for my friends and just park it so we don't have shell out tons of money once we're in the bar?

Depending on how many people you are going to have, you should call first. You might have to rent the space. Renting the space might include booze or it might not. Some spaces will let you bring your own booze but probably not if it's a bar that serves it's own liquor. You may be able to see if there is a deal where a limited selection of beer is available to your party for cheap, or ask if you can buy a keg of beer from the bar itself. But these are things you have to call to find out - whatever you do, don't show up at the bar with your own keg expecting to bring it in and drink up.

Also, other than excessive drinking, is there anything else I should be doing for my party? I've never known anything else, (I mean, except for lazer tag parties as a young lad)

Just drinking should do it. I'd make sure the music will be good. We were able to bring our own CDs to the Hopleaf and other places might let you do the same. You could also hire a band to play. I know at least one good one, but I don't know if they play parties like that. If you don't want a band, I'm sure someone you know is a DJ. Or someone I know is a DJ. DJs are everywhere. (everyone's a critic and most of them are DJs, you know...)
posted by jennyb at 6:13 PM on July 25, 2005


PS HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
posted by jennyb at 6:13 PM on July 25, 2005


There are also a lot of places with the back rooms where (assuming you have enough people) each guest pays some nominal fee for all-you-can-drink for a few hours (like 9-12). I know the Hidden Shamrock off Diversey does it for around $30 a person. Depends how many friends you have and if they're willing to shell out $$ to party with you on your b-day (and whether they drink enough for that to be economical). One of my friends does this for all his law school finals and it's always a blast.

And hmmmm...wedding reception at Hop Leaf. That's brilliant. I'm going to have to look into that one.
posted by awegz at 7:54 PM on July 25, 2005


Don't party in the burbs. Espeically if the point is to get rip-roaring drunk. Better to take the last metra home (or the earliest metra out) than have all your guests leave blasted. Or you can plan to crash with a friend and drop off shit at his/her place beforehand.

Then you rip it up in Chicago. I haven't been there in years so I can't help much.

I don't think that you'll have enough people to be a huge problem at a bar. Or at least none of my b-day parties ever was a problem. If y'all are 50 people, then start looking for a room. If you're a more manageable 25-30, then all you need to do is get in early (9 / 9:30 PM -- at least bring some of your gang at that point to stake out 1 or 2 tables). Then everybody shows up whenever and buys you drinks. Suh-wheat!
posted by zpousman at 9:37 AM on July 26, 2005


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