While most new nightclubs these days are actually hybrid restaurant-lounge-dance spaces, Ala Carte Entertainment transformed their Aura into Vision, and over the course of the year, carved space out of the adjacent Excalibur in order to further increase the scale of this new undertaking. The web site proclaims “5 SEPARATE MUSIC ENVIRONMENTS, 4 BANGIN’ NEW SOUND SYSTEMS, 3 LUXURIOUS LOUNGES and 2 GIANT DANCE CLUBS,” and the whole thing is more than you can take in on one visit. The main room is a three-story atrium, with a modest dance floor on the ground that spills onto the entire first floor as the night gets kicking. Up above, each floor features bars and lounge spaces, all overlooking the dance scene below. Although the overall vibe remains mainstream, no doubt reflecting the influence of its Excalibur heritage and River North location, they’ve recently upped the ante by partnering with West Coast promoters Spundae. The result is that Vision has become a venue for some of the world’s most popular club acts, with recent appearances by Sasha, Crystal Method and Dirty Vegas.
632 North Dearborn (312)266-1944
Audience choice: Le Passage and Swank (tie)
Le Passage, 1 Oak Place
Swank, 710 North Wells
(Le Passage and Swank are both closed)
Best of Chicago 2002