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Best Beats: 1/3/09

Lava's house-music party gets a hot new name this Friday.
Saturday Jan 03, 2009.     By Maya Henderson
Centerstage Chicago Nightlife City Guide Arts


Sunday, January 4 at Sonotheque, 9 p.m.; $12
Despite the blog-house craze and the preponderance of overpaid Serato "DJs" (I'm looking at you, Samantha Ronson), it's good to know that talented and thoughtful producers and DJs can still get the attention and respect they deserve. Take for example Bonobo; he doesn't fall into a specific dance-music category and he isn't concerned with the latest trends in electronic music, but he's developed a strong following thanks to his releases on the prestigious Ninja Tune label. With little to no advertising, he packed Sonotheque when he came to town last year. Best of all, he draws the kind of crowd that cares less about what you're wearing and much more about just having a good time and appreciating a talented musician who only makes it to the States once a year.

Friday, January 9 at Lava Lounge, 9 pm.; free
Lava's house-music party, Grizzled, is taking on a sexier, more inviting name, Sizzled. For 2009, resident DJs Karl Almaria and John Mork (The Sound Republic), are moving away from strictly jacking house to encompass a larger selection of all the many subgenres of house music. Tonight, special guest Mr. Timms from Milwaukee spins an early downtempo set and a late-night deep house set. Oh, and there’s also free bacon (seriously) until it runs out.

One Love
Friday, January 9 at Butterfly Social Club, 9 p.m.; Free
Last time we recommended this event, we weren't sure how the turnout would be since Butterfly lost its pristine, superfoods-club vibe and went for more of a traditional beer-and-shot crowd. But Papa G's One Love party turned out to be one of the more happening events in December, with a multi-ethnic crowd of cool kids, pseudo-hippies and yes, even Buddha rejects, all getting down on the tiny dance floor. Just be warned, bartenders here can be extremely slow and the more people belly up to the bar, the slower they move. Just be patient, don't let it ruin your night and you'll have a good time.

Africa Hi-Fi
Africa Hi-Fi: Barack Obama/Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration
Saturday, January 10 at Sonotheque, 9 p.m.; $10
Africa Hi Fi is likely the only party that could have a legitimate celebration for Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday as well as the election of Barack Obama without it coming off as contrived. Host Sonia H. and resident DJ and dance-music legend Ron Trent have built the AHF name to be known as an event not only for good music, but also unity, appreciation of culture and positive vibes, things that both MLK and Mr. Obama would definitely support. Let's face it, you’re not getting anywhere near Washington, DC on the night of the actual inauguration, so make this the night you celebrate a historical figure and history in the making.

Big Fun
Saturday, January 10 at Crocodile, 9 p.m; free
Yes, it's true. Spend $5 on a cocktail at Wicker Park's Crocodile and you'll get a free personal margherita pizza. It's a great deal in these harsh economic times and the pizza is the perfect size to soak up a few too many cocktails and/or keep you from making those dreaded late-night burrito mistakes. But this is Best Beats, not Cheap Eats and the weekly Saturday-night party, Big Fun, is shaping up to be a major contender in the neighborhood. The usual suspects from neighbor Subterranean, DJ Trew and Maker, are joined by DJ Butterfly for a night of reggae, house, hip-hop and dance music.


Explore More

Bars & Clubs

Brand-New Bars

Brand-New Bars

Get divey on Grace; go downstairs at River North's Curio.

Food & Dining

New Restaurants

New Restaurants

Go Dutch at Vincent and satisfy a familiar sweet tooth at BomBon.

What's Happening Today
  • Brisku's Bistro
    half-price bottles of wine, $3 Birra Tirana
  • Moxie
    $2 domestic beers, $8 pitchers of sangria
  • Mac's American Pub
    $3.50 Point Pale Ale drafts, $2 PBR drafts, $3 Jameson, Gentleman Jack and Jim Beam Black shots (available only during post-season Hawks games)
  • Broadway Cellars
    $5 martinis