* If you’re looking for the best party in town, here are some pointers for finding it.

   * You can’t walk into most of these places without knowing someone who knows someone, but if you’re looking to go out on a weeknight and see live music or hang out with friends at a bar before heading somewhere more exclusive, there are still options.

   * For instance…

       3555 N Clark Street , which features dueling pianos on certain nights.

    * You don’t have to tip the musicians–it’s not actually required by law anymore–but it is encouraged . It’ll cost more than just buying drinks while you listen, but if they’re good the show will be worth it.

    * If you want drinks without entertainment, there are other options for that too. There are a few bars around–among them Cole’s , The Green Mill , and the Whistler –that offer live jazz or blues music without cover charges . You can spend time talking to friends over cheap drinks made with cheap liquor that costs more because it’s poured in nicer surroundings than the dive bars where it might otherwise be found. At these places, if you’re not talking to someone who already knows someone present, you’ll probably find yourself making at least one new acquaintance through sheer happenstance.

       3213 W Belmont Avenue , which features DJs playing electronic dance music on certain nights.

   * There are other venues that rely on DJs rather than live music to provide their entertainment, but this is one of the most popular. The bar area at Roscoe’s has two pool tables which you can play while waiting for drinks or between sets, and if there’s not space in the front you can wait until last call before trying to push your way through the crowds to get a drink

       1444 W Chicago Avenue above a Chicago plasma pen training center , which features punk rock bands on certain nights.

   * For people who like cheap beer and loud music, this place is both. On Mondays–the busiest night here–it gets crowded enough that it might feel like standing in line with no guarantee of getting inside once you do get up to the door, but it has a huge drink menu with a large selection of beers and drinks you can’t normally find at other bars.

       3124 N Clark Street , which features drag shows on certain nights.

   * Some people come here to meet dates, but there’s also a dance floor if you’re looking for something else. The drinks are made strong so you won’t have to order several before feeling them take effect, though that might not be an advantage depending on how often you intend to turn around the room–or the person standing next to you.