By Thomas Connors / May 16, 2019

5 Late-Night Options in Chicago That Don’t Involve a Nightclub

Go ahead and order that coffee

Chicago Magic Lounge Best Late Night Entertainment
The Chicago Magic Lounge sets the bar high when it comes to after-hours entertainment.

You’ve sipped the last of the wine and signed the bill — now what?

When you’re not up for a nightclub and it’s still a tad early for that final nightcap, why not see a show? Hamilton ended hours ago, but the curtain hasn’t come down everywhere.

One of these five options may be just the ticket.

The Neo-Futurists’ The Infinite Wrench (Fridays & Saturdays at 11:30)

When an experimental theater company can keep a show running for 28 years (Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind), it’s clearly got it going on. Like that now-closed hit, fast and furious is what it’s all about with The Infinite Wrench, which puts ensemble members to the test, performing multiple plays in a matter of minutes, as the audience — divided into teams — calls out what bit is up next.

The lounge at the Music Box Theatre

Midnight Movies at The Music Box Theatre

Stop streaming and set your sights on the Music Box, whose skyward shooting marquee has been a beacon to movie lovers for decades. Serious cinema is a staple here, but the late-night programming is more laid back, with such fare as Fight Club and Highway to Hell, the horror-comedy-action-adventure where Ben Stiller appears as Attila the Hun.

Improvised Shakespeare at The iO Theater (Fridays at 8 and 10:30, Saturdays 10:30)

The old Bard can be a real snooze, but making merry in an Elizabethan manner is anything but at this Lincoln Park operation. Riffing on ideas from the audience, a quick-tongued improv crew whips up wacky tales Will would be proud to call his own.

Chicago Magic Lounge
Magic is hard work. (Chicago Magic Lounge)

The Magic Lounge’s Signature Show (Fridays & Saturdays at 7 and 10)

If magic conjures images of some sad-sack working a third-rate room off the Vegas strip strip, think again. Hidden away like a speakeasy Capone might have made his own, this stylish venue is the spot to witness magic done close up by pros who wouldn’t be caught dead pulling a rabbit out of a hat.


The Second City After Hours: A Late Night Improv Show (Fridays & Saturdays at 11) Sometimes, you’ve got to go back to the source. If you haven’t hit this Chi-town institution in awhile, the 60-minute show — with its Rat Pack style and heavy audience participation — will send you home in stitches.