Is This the Ultimate Highbrow/Lowbrow Chicago Date?
Fancy karaoke and a punk-rock gastropub. Get some.
A person’s go-to karaoke song says a lot about them.
Are they scrupulous or foolhardy? Somber or bombastic? And will they even get up on stage?
A person’s go-to karaoke bar also says a lot about them, and you’ll do no better than Blind Dragon, an L.A. transplant that opens today in River North.
Conveniently, it’s also down the street from Chicago’s best new gastropub, where they cook mussels in PBR and pour whisky sodas out of an imported Japanese highball machine.
Ready for the ultimate highbrow/lowbrow date?
Image via Stock Mfg. Co.
Step 1: Dress to Impress
Before taking stage, it’s important to cultivate a strong look. Local style dons Stock Mfg. Co. have you covered in this department with a new rayon camp shirt that pays homage to Pioneertown, the town outside of Joshua Tree that Gene Autry and Roy Rogers built to play backdrop to ‘50s Western films. Don’t have time to buy online? You can also visit them in person at 2136 W. Fulton St.
Good Measure Punk Gastropub (4 images)
Images via Good Measure
Step 2: Supper Time
You can’t sing karaoke on an empty stomach. You also can’t eat at Mason — the contemporary steakhouse at the Found Hotel, whose basement Blind Dragon inhabits — since it’s not quite open yet. So head down the street for an appropriately casual meal at Good Measure, the punk rock-themed gastropub that just opened a few blocks away. The place is helmed by Chicago food vets Sophia de Oliveira (GM; formerly of Devereaux and Swift & Sons) and Chef Matt Troost (Charlatan and Three Aces) and features a menu that truly innovates classic pub fare, with specialties that include Nashville hot duck livers, truffled Polish sausage, a decadent custom burger and mussels steamed in PBR, shallots and spam. Also not to be missed? The imported Japanese highball machine, a kegerator-meets-sodastream-like device that blasts out the tastiest whisky soda you’ve ever had.
Blind Dragon Karaoke Chicago (2 images)
Images via Blind Dragon
Step 3: Belt One Out
When you think karaoke, you probably think sticky floors, cheap drinks and a wonky sing-a-long machine that doesn’t even have the long version of “American Pie.” This is not that. Blind Dragon, opening tonight, is the first Chicago operation from L.A. nightlife empire H.Wood group. The digs evoke a kitschy-but-upscale pan-Asian karaoke experience, with paper lanterns, red banquettes, leopard-print stools and ceramic tiki mugs. The cocktails share a similar sensibility, peppering classic tipples with exotic ingredients like yuzu citrus, Thai chilies and shiso (a minty, basil-like herb). Not up for lighting the main stage on fire? There are also three private karaoke rooms available for reservation through their website.
Image via Found Hotel / Hotels.com
Step 4: Sleepover?
Once you’ve dropped the mic for the final time, you don’t have to go home … but you can, in fact, stay here. Upstairs, you’ll encounter the Found Hotel, an affordable 60-room boutique with private rooms starting at $109/night and shared bunk rooms starting at just $24/night.