Get your acceptance speech ready at one of these Chicago Oscars parties.
Even if you're not walking the red carpet, the Oscars (March 7) can still be a special night. Whether you want to get all dressed up for a benefit event, or enjoy a low-key party with fellow film fanatics, we've found some parties that are well worth the ticket price.
10pin Bowling Lounge
7 p.m.-1 a.m.
Bowl a strike when the special Oscar pin is in the headpin spot and you'll win an Oscar DVD from the past or present at this viewing party, which features a 128-foot high-def video wall. There will also be $8 themed cocktails like the Avatar (Van Gogh Black Cherry, blue curacao, pineapple and Sprite) and The Blind Side (Cuervo Gold, Triple Sec, sour mix, salt rim, lime garnish).
Enjoy an evening of VIP-style cocktails and dining at this Old Town spot. The celebration includes a cash bar cocktail reception from 6-7 p.m., a ballot contest (grand prize: night for two at the Elysian Hotel) and an optional four-course $50 prix-fixe menu including choices like steamed mussels, roasted chicken and red velvet cake.
If the ceremony gets a little too long and predictable, there's always something else to stare at in this downtown bar. Located off the 15th floor lobby of the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza, Cityscape Bar boasts one of the best views of the city. While there, enjoy sipping on "drink like the stars" martinis such as the "Red Carpet" ($7) and "The Envelope Please..." martini ($7).
Dress up as your favorite celebrity or character and you could win a prize in one of the costume/performance contests at this new Lakeview bar. Categories include Best Dressed Female/Male/Couple, Best Monologue, Best Acceptance Speech, Best Jack Nicholson Impression, Best Marilyn Monroe impression and a Zoolander walk-off. You'll also enjoy half-price bottles of wine.
Gene Siskel Film Center
The Siskel Center hosts the only offical Oscar party in town; it's sanctioned by the Academy of Motion Pictures and requires "business attire or awards glam" for all its patrons, which means come right from work or feel free to get decked out to the nines. Hollywood would be proud. The broadcast, which will be shown in full HD glory at the center, starts at 7 p.m., but the gala kicks off at 6 p.m. and goes all the way to midnight. A silent auction will run through the evening and prizes will be raffled. The price of admission ($100) gets you food (from MJ Catering) and drinks (including a complimentary glass of Moet & Chandon to start the evening). Co-chairs include Amanda Puck, Bob Balaban, Harold Ramis and more.
Halsted's Bar & Grill
From the pre-show through to the final award presentation, Halsted's will be a great place to watch. There'll be a red carpet on the premises, giveaways to all attendees and specials like $3 glasses and $15 bottles of champagne, $4 22-ounce drafts of Miller Lite and $10 pitchers of Miller Lite.
Hilton Chicago/Indian Lakes Resort
Get a specialty themed cocktail for just $3.50 all weekend long at this Bloomingdale resort's Cave Bar. Drinks include the AvatarTini (raspberry vodka, blue curacao, pineapple juice and orange juice), the Hurt Locker Cherry Bomb (grenadine, Goldschlager, cherry curacao, vanilla vodka, club soda or Sierra Mist) and the Inglorious Jager Monster (Jager, grenadine, orange juice, splash sweet and sour).
Watch the show in this new lounge/restaurant above Sushi Taiyo while sipping on drinks like the Oscar-tini (Absolut Mandarin, sparkling sake, mandarin oranges) and Avatar Lemonade (Absolut Citron, fresh raspberries, lemonade, blue curacao, sparkling sake) and enjoying two sushi specials: the Red Carpet (namasake, avocado and spicy mayo topped with marinated tuna) and the Up in the Air (ebi and tempura banana, topped with a special ume sauce and sprinkled iwth wasabi tobiko).
Kit Kat Lounge and Supper Club
5:30 p.m.-2 a.m.; no cover
Walk the blue carpet into this "Avatar"-inspired party, featuring half-price ($5) cocktails (including the Avatar Princess martini with Effen vodka, Hpnotiq liqueur, pineapple juice and rock candy) and an Oscars ballot contest, with the winner taking home a $500 grand prize including the "Avatar" video game for PlayStation 3 and a Swarovski crystal-studded Hpnotiq bottle. The first 50 guests will receive gift bags.
Lobby Lounge (ShowPlace Icon Theatre)
Where better to watch the Academy Awards action than at a movie theater? Enjoy the special "Oscar Crab" pizza ($15) while watching the winners on five 50-inch HD TVs.
6-10:30 p.m.; $65
Do some good while watching the stars, as Luxbar teams up with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for this red-carpet party featuring Goose Island beers, Belvedere vodka cocktails, samples of Glenmorangie scotch and 10Cane rum, bite-size menu items like sliders, tuna tartare, chicken empanadas, quesadillas and mini crab cakes. The awards will be shown on 17 flatscreen TVs, and NBC Chicago's Ginger Zee will make an appearance.
Specials at this Wicker Park party include mussels with house blonde ale ($11), grilled BBQ chicken skewers with apple hash browns and charred scallions ($10) and $6 for Moonshine house brews and a shot of Jim Beam. There will also be an Oscar pool.
Not only can you watch the Oscars at this elegant space in the Drake Hotel, but your $20 admission fee goes to Project Save the World, an organization with a pretty lofty goal. You'll also get a glass of champagne for your trouble.
Rock Bottom Brewery
There will be themed menu items available throughout the day at this restaurant and brewery, including "Up in the Air" wings, "The Blind Side" ballpark pretzels, "District 9" firecracker shrimp, a "Crazy Heart-tini" (pomegranate liqueur and Absolut Citron with a lemon twist), "A Single Man" (Rob Roy with scotch, sweet vermouth and bitters) and "Inglourious Basterds" brew ($3 pint of the day). Ballot contest participants will compete for growlers of beer as well as the grand prize of dinner for two.