September 2, 2007

Dr. Night Life’s Chicago:
An Intimate & Informative Guide to the City’s Best Entertainment

Rick Kogan

Staying Alive – Why read a guidebook that’s nearly 30 years old? Because if it’s written by raconteur Rick Kogan, it remains endlessly entertaining. Kogan, a journalist who today interviews seemingly ordinary people for the Chicago Tribune Sunday magazine as well as his own radio and cable television shows, walks us through an Odyssean journey of countless Windy City watering holes, saloons, discos, taverns and lounges. Some are long-gone, such as the Blue Max, Faces and Riccardo’s. Others remain Chicago classics: the Pump Room, Twin Anchors, the Billy Goat Tavern. Still others have hung on despite – well, despite everything. A few months ago, Robert Charles and I found ourselves with time on our hands at O’Hare International Airport while waiting for the magician Eugene Burger’s return flight from Las Vegas. I began feeling a wee bit of the thirst so Robert and I soon found ourselves in the Gaslight Club at the O’Hare Hilton. Writing about the place in Dr. Night Life’s Chicago, Kogan noted: “The waitress is all smiles and skin and I am also impressed by her surroundings – an opulent outpouring of red velvet. ‘I’ve been here for two years,’ says the waitress, named Kathy. ‘I go to cosmetology school but I’ll keep working here when I get out. It’s like family.’” At the Gaslight Club today, you’ll meet a different Kathy and maybe the same Kathy, too. Plus, the red velvet hasn’t changed a bit. Welcome to 1979.


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