Tired of chromed-out, monochromatic, space-age-styled bars? The ones with the white walls and multi-colored lighting? Just when you're about to say, "not another," a different kind of species has settled in. Named after the River North 'hood it calls home, RiNo (pronounced as the large horned animal) seems like an African-safari adventure gone mod: pony-spotted bar stools, horned chandeliers and lighting, white onyx floor tiles, low leather seating and grass cloth along the walls meets animal-inspired touches like hollowed-out ostrich eggs. Keeping with the exotic nature bent, the midsection of a 200-year-old tree forms the bar top, resting below the less-organic flat-screen TVs. Giant mirrors deck the walls for you to make sure that you're still looking hot, while the low tables and seating make you seem as your resting cool in the shadows.
RiNo is open Wednesday through Saturday and serves two kinds of crowds: the happy-hour type and the party-hour sort. TVs display sports for those who just got off work and DJs spin pop-heavy favorites, such as Beyonce and Black Eyed Peas, for the late-night partygoers. Boasting a 4 a.m. liquor license, RiNo is where the after-after party is. While the bar serves $6 cocktails and $5 beers, bottle service is also available for those thirsty late-night party animals.
Centerstage Reviewer: Janis Mabalay