Whether a sale needs to be celebrated, a fired friend consoled or a printer jam avoided, the excuses to grab drinks with co-workers are many. And although it’s flattering when the bartender at the pub around the corner from the office pulls your beer from the cooler as soon as you enter, there are other things to do downtown than drink after dinner — many with the glitz and glam that clients and out-of-town partners expect from our fine city.
343 S. Dearborn St.
Hours: Open 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday through Friday, 11 p.m.-3 a.m. Saturday, 11 p.m. -2 a.m. Sunday
As far as karaoke goes, Brando’s Speakeasy with its landmark trappings and daily $5 martini special is as classy a lounge as you could expect to watch your co-workers overextend their vocal cords as part of a team-building exercise.
159 E. Monroe St.
For the office that isn’t quite cohesive enough to sing drunkenly together, After Dark special tours make for an academic bonding experience. There’s no need to actually have a conversational knowledge of AIC’s 50 Monet haystacks — there’s live music, free appetizers and a cash bar. Purchase tickets online.
157 W. Ontario St.
Attached to the Ontourage nightclub, The Comedy Bar emphasizes local talent but requires that all performers be professionals with national shows. RSVP ahead or just try your luck at the door. There’s usually space, depending on the act.
Hours: Board by 12:30 a.m., cruise from 1 a.m.-3 a.m.
There’s nothing like looking at the city skyline by taking a step back onto the lake. Basically a nightclub on a boat, Moonlight Cruises asks only that customers abide by a dress code and refrain from fistfights, or ejection from venue could be swift and wet.
322 E. Illinois St.
Hours: Monday through Friday 11:30 a.m.–midnight
If the colleagues want to do something sporty but don’t want to have to change after dinner, there’s bowling in River East. Frequented nightly by young professionals kicking off their high heels for bowling shoes, Lucky Strike Lanes is a casual hangout for co-workers hoping to their promote their friendships from the obligatory after-work beer status.
875 N. Michigan Ave.
Hours: 9 a.m.-11 p.m.
With views of the lake and the city, the John Hancock Observatory is Skydeck’s less famous counterpart. Though the features are pretty much the same, the lines are shorter and the Willis Tower is visible from its open-air passage.
ABOVE: You too could be having this much fun if you went to Brando’s