Rebirth of South Loop Cool

New nightspot adds another option to growing neighborhood

The South Loop used to be one of the most thriving nightlife neighborhoods in the city. The Cotton Club on Michigan Avenue was the place to be. And back when Chicago house music was the main beat of the underground, many of those clubs were located in and around the SoLo -- or the Sloop -- or whatever you want to call it.

Specifically we're talking about the area south of Roosevelt -- unknown territory for many North Siders, but for those in the know, a hub of revitalization. Restaurateur Jerry Kleiner has helped tremendously, contributing top-flight restaurants Opera, Gioco and recently, the reopened Via Ventuno.

Late night options in the area have been sorely lacking, but that will change in June with the opening of Shrine (2109 S. Wabash St). Joe Russo, the founder of The Funky Buddha Lounge and several other concepts in Chicago, is behind this new venue.

It's described as a "new hub for music across an eclectic cross-section of genres" and a destination for "culturally aware urbanites."

The 8,000 sq. ft. venue can accommodate more than 600 guests. Connected to the main club area is a small, upscale lounge called Coup d’état, complete with it's own separate DJ, bar and service staff.

Once a month the venue will feature an "Eyes Wide Shut" series featuring A-List hip-hop, R&B and reggae artist for the same $20 cover charge. These are acts that usually play in larger arenas that you'll now get to see in an intimate setting.

In other words, in just a few weeks, you'll be able to experience a unique South Loop crawl within a two-block radius -- dinner outside at Via Ventuno, one of the best patios we've seen in the city; live music around the corner at Regggie's Music Joint; dessert and dancing at Cuatro; more late night action across the street at Shrine; and late night bites at White Castle or Harold's Chicken Shack.

Who else is ready for the summer?

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