The 81st annual Academy Awards ceremony (otherwise known as Hollywood's most glamorous night) will take place this Sunday, Feb. 22. Whether you're a movie buff or just a fan of getting together with friends to eat, drink and scrutinize celebrities' outfits, an Oscars party is a great chance to add a bit of fabulosity to your Sunday night. Let's take a look at the nominees for the various Oscars shindigs going on around town.
Best Visual Effects: One of the city's most buzzed-about Oscars parties is "A Dark Night," a benefit bash for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Associate Board hosted by Chicago magazine. The edgy, "Dark Knight"-inspired event will take place at the brand-new Tapas Valencia in the South Loop, which will be adorned by a red-carpet entrance on Sunday night. Specialty cocktails and an abundance of tapas will be served, while the Academy Awards ceremony is shown on TVs throughout the sprawling space. A silent auction will benefit the JDRF, and prizes will go out to the evening's best-dressed guests (just like on E!). 5:30PM, $50 in advance, $55 at the door.
Best Makeup: No club does over-the-top quite like Lakeview's Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club, home to female impersonators known as the "Kit Kat Divas." The club's very own "Cher," Diva Candi Stratton, will be your hostess for the festivities and will perform during the Academy Awards telecast commercial breaks, which will be broadcasted on five jumbo screens. Male models painted gold a la Oscars statues will be manning Kit Kat's red carpet and passing out samples of St. Germain Liqueur. Martinis will be half-price all night, including the specialty "Oscar-Tini," a glitzy blend of Vox Vodka, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, cranberry juice and a splash of champagne, garnished with fresh cranberries ($5.50). Chef Matt Stovey has also created a "Red Carpet" tapas menu, featuring such fun finger foods as cherry tomatoes stuffed with truffle-crab salad and lemon-and-artichoke fritters with a roasted tomato aioli($8 each). 5:30PM-2AM, call the club for reservations (773-525-1111).
Best Writing: Put the 240 TVs at Stretch Run Sporting Club and Grille in River North to good use on Oscars night. The casual, welcoming hangout will rock a red carpet for Academy Awards arrivals, and cleverly named food and drink specials will help guests get in the Tinsel Town spirit. Choose from such tongue-in-cheek cocktails as "Hair of the SLUMDOG," featuring Malibu Rum, Stoli Razberi Vodka and Sierra Mist; "The Butter MILK," a blend of Butterscotch Schnapps, Bailey's and milk; "The CURIOUS Cocktail," a concoction of Midori, Chambord and vodka with orange and pineapple juices; "READER or Not, Here I Come," with vodka, amaretto, orange juice and pineapple juice topped off with Sierra Mist; and "FROSTY Nixon," with vodka, Kahlua and cream. All drinks are $5. Fun food specials include the "Oscar Dog," a bacon-wrapped beef hot dog with onion rings, sauerkraut, relish and nacho rings; the "Biggest Burger Event of the Year," a hefty Kobe beef burger; and "Best Supporting Grouper," a grilled grouper sandwich on a toasted ciabatta roll.