Updated: April 14, 2014 4:47PM
While we’re not sure the exact origins of Black Wednesday, one thing is a definite: The pre-Thanksgiving event involves more than its fair share of drinking and, in some cases, an offbeat twist or two. Turkey testicles, anyone?
Here are some of the city’s Black Wednesday events worth checking out:
Double A (108 W. Kinzie, 312-329-9555, doubleachicago.com): Old school DJ beats and mixologist’s Paul Sauter’s Black Wednesday Bowl, a fruity punch bowl mix of berries, agave nectar and cava ($11), are featured at this minuscule lounge underneath Mercadito. Good for: those who like to share.
Dusek’s Board & Beer (1227 W. 18th, 312-526-3851, thaliahallchicago.com): This new Pilsen restaurant gets in on both holidays too, with its tapping of He’brew Jewbelation Reborn (17), a series of annual Hanukkah-release specialty brews. Head downstairs to lounge Punch House for a Hozac Records Black Wednesday Blackout Dance Party. Good for: Beer Nuts.
The Fifty/50 (2047 W. Division, 773-489-5050, thefifty50.com): This Ukrainian Village hipster sports bar combines Black Wednesday and the first night of Hanukkah for its Drumsticks & Dreidels Party with specials that include $8 turkey legs and $6 Manischewitz Bombs rimmed with crushed turkey bacon. Good for: those who like killing two turkeys, er, birds with one stone.
Filini Bar & Restaurant (221 N. Columbus, 312-477-0234, filinichicago.com): Not every Black Wednesday event is a rip-roaring party as the Pilgrim’s Conclave at this Loop hotel spot proves. A DJ provides soothing tunes while $8 seasonal drink specials help get you in the spirit. Good for: those who prefer a more sophisticated fete.
Frontier (1072 N. Milwaukee, 773-772-4322, thefrontierchicago.com): This North Center bar pays homage to Movember (male-centered cancer awareness) with mustache and beard contests galore, including one that involves spilled beer. Good for: fanatics of facial hair and those who love ’em.
O’Donovan’s (2100 W. Irving Park, 773-478-2100, odonovansbar.com): Wild Turkey bourbon lovers have a friend in this North Center pub, which offers Wild Turkey cocktails and shots, both for $5. Up the ante with a $1 shot of Wild Turkey Balls, maraschino cherries marinated in the brown spirit. Good for: those who like to live on the Wild side.
Old Town Social (455 W. North, 312-266-2277, oldtownsocial.com): This Old Town spot has earned plenty of loyal fans for its sophisticated spin on a traditional sports bar vibe. We predict its Black Wednesday Blowout will earn even more for its specialty cocktails, including $6 pumpkin pie shots, and a dance party later in the evening. Good for: those who want to shake a leg.
John Barleycorn River North (149 W. Kinzie, 312-477-8700, johnbarleycorn.com): The Black Wednesday festivities go all day at this River North bar with $5 Southern Tier Pumking bottles and $10 pumpkin pie cocktails. Good for: those who want an early start.
Parliament (324 W. Chicago, 312-380-0004, parliamentchicago.com): For its first Black Wednesday event, this River North club is going all out with a live art installation, choreographed performances, body art, on-site jewelry creations and an electric guitar performance. Good for: those with short attention spans.
ROOF at the Wit (201 N. State, 312-239-9502, roofonthewit.com): This lounge on the rooftop of the Wit hotel will have Chicago-based DJ/bass player/music programmer extraordinaire Greg Corner in charge of the tunes on Black Wednesday. Good for: those who like their music with killer city views.
Timothy O’Toole’s (622 N. Fairbanks, 312-642-0700, timothyotooles.com): It’s not a Black Wednesday celebration without a turkey testicle eating contest. Or at least that’s the case at this Streeterville bar, which also features a pumpkin pie eating contest for less-adventurous eaters, and a variety of drink and food specials. Good for: those who are adventurous.
Tokio Pub (1900 E. Higgins, Schaumburg; 847-278-5181; tokiopub.com): Live-band karaoke, specialty $5 cocktails and $10 gift certificates to those who bring in a non-perishable item are all part of this Schaumburg restaurant’s Black Wednesday party. Good for: those who want to give back.