United States: 312-878-0707

DarkRoom Chicago

This place is laid-back luxury, an ultra-hip loft party that doesn’t require a personal invite. With a downtempo focus on the dance floor, it’s a place for the in-crowd to strut their stuff. The interior of darkroom plays on its theme, with contrasting red and black elements. Walls are painted blood red and back plush black leather couches, perfect for chatting with friends, escaping the crowd, or admiring well-displayed photos from local artists. A sleek glass bar covers the middle of the floor, inlaid with photographs and glowing with white light. A small dance floor with adjoining DJ booth occupies one corner, providing some space to shimmy. Finally, a private little perch of a booth is located next to the entrance. Bucktown and Wicker Park denizens come armed with studded belts, leather bracelets and the latest hipster paraphernalia. These bohemian twenty- and thirty-somethings want a chilled vibe that is the antithesis of Lincoln Park’s frat-tastic sports bars. Abercrombie & Co. should stay away. Nobody is going to be grinding on the dance floor; they just want to chat, see and be seen. Things get packed on Saturday night for a reason; with a plethora of special events scheduled for the weekends, there’s always something intriguing happening behind the darkroom’s black exterior. With everything from fundraisers to magazine launch parties filling up the booths, this place becomes an all-purpose urban community center. That evocative image hanging over your booth didn’t come with the frame. The Darkroom proudly features the work of local photographers on its walls, leading a double life as an art gallery. The music varies as much as the crowd. Everything from house to hip-hop, downtempo to dancehall, can be found in the background. The only given is that the soundtrack isn’t overpowering, and there’s never a reason to raise your conversation to a shouting match.

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