Best After-Hours Nightlife off the Blue Line

Rivers Casino

Critics' Picks

If, like me, you're burned out on craft fairs, art openings, rock shows, and dive bars, look no further than Des Plaines. Hop on the el, get off at the Rosemont stop, wait for the every-ten-minutes, 24/7 free shuttle, and arrive at the glorious suburban oasis known as Rivers Casino. (Seriously, from Logan Square it takes less than 30 minutes to get there, all for the price of CTA fare.) The casino is only closed for two hours a day, between the hours of 7 AM and 9 AM, and in the wee hours you'll find a wide range of characters, from serious gamblers to night-owl geriatrics to travelers shuttling over from O'Hare. The drinks are strong and reasonably priced, and they have multiple restaurants open late: a burger joint, an Asian noodle place, a steakhouse, and even a sports bar type thing that serves poutine. If you're a nonsmoker, you don't have to clam bake like at the Horseshoe over in Indiana, which allows smoking indoors. Instead, the Rivers offers a weather-friendly smoking patio. Oh, and also there's gambling—penny slots, tables for people who actually know how to gamble, and a high-roller room (which I've never dared approach).