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A large barroom with a u-shaped bar and stools on the left, with a stained glass piece overhead, and a row of booths on the right
Nights & Weekends opens tomorrow night in the West Loop.
Heisler Hospitality/Garrett Sweet

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Sip Loaded Topo Chicos and Dance The Night Away at a New West Loop Bar

The customers on the dance floor may be masked, but Nights & Weekends is ready to open on Thursday after a pandemic delay

When the owners of Sportsman’s Club, Lone Wolf, and Estereo began planning their latest bar, Nights & Weekends, three years ago, they were not anticipating that construction would be stalled for nearly a year because of supply chain issues caused by a worldwide pandemic.

Heisler Hospitality’s newest venue, Nights & Weekends, opens Thursday night near the northwest corner of Lake and Morgan streets inside a space that co-owners Kevin Heisner and Matt Eisler once hinted would be the site of a revival of Bar DeVille, Heisler’s beloved West Town bar that closed four years ago. When they started planning Nights & Weekends, Heisner and Eisler were not anticipating the dance floor would be filled with people wearing face masks. And so, in the final days before the bar opens, they eliminated all of their more complicated plans and decided to concentrate on the basics.

“It doesn’t feel like the right time for overly fussy or indulgent kind of stuff right now,” Eisler says. “We’ve decided to keep the focus simply on having fun and providing a good time and enjoyable drinks.”

A brick exterior of a bar with four windows with stained glass and a pink neon lightning bolt sign.
The bar is three years in the making.
Heisler Hospitality/Garrett Sweet
Five bottles of seltzer in different colors sitting on a bar
A lineup of loaded Topo Chicos.
Heisler Hospitality/Garrett Sweet

The cocktail menu, developed by general manager Anthony Mitchell (Revel Room), was streamlined as well, focusing on drinks bartenders can mix and pass off to customers as quickly as possible: “funky highballs” prepared with house-made sodas, and loaded Topo Chicos with booze added directly to the bottles so drinkers can easily carry them around. There will also be a few classic cocktails, but nothing with more than four ingredients.

Heisner, Eisler, and Mitchell expect to fill the 4,500-square-foot space that includes a 60-foot bar. Nights & Weekends will cater to a variety of bargoers, from the person who wants a quick drink and a chat with the bartender, to a group of friends hanging out before or after dinner, to someone who just wants to dance. (DJs will play on weekends, and bartenders will spin vinyl during the week.) But there won’t be a single TV to be found: the idea was to create a place where customers talk to each other. Heisner customarily designs Heisler’s spaces, and with Nights & Weekends, he split the room with furniture and sound design to make the room feel less cavernous.

Two square booths, with brown leather seats and red patterned backs, and small marble-topped tables in the center Heisler Hospitality/Garrett Sweet
A bar with a large piece of stained glass with a colorful, geometric design overhead and a row of stools in the foreground Heisler Hospitality/Garrett Sweet
A mostly empty space with a concrete floor, wooden DJ booth in the background, and above, shiny balls and leafy fronds hanging from the ceiling beams Heisler Hospitality/Garrett Sweet

The bar’s design includes Turkish kilim rugs as upholstery and custom art installations.

Heisner is also a multi-disciplinary artist who displays his work under the pseudonym Shlumper, and he contributed several pieces of art to Nights & Weekends, including an outside mural that viewers can see in augmented reality on their phones by activating a QR code. There’s also a large stained-glass light fixture behind the bar created by artist Ben Houtkamp and a dried flower and disco ball installation over the DJ booth by Elizabeth Cronin of Asrai Gardens. The barstools and banquettes are upholstered with vintage Turkish kilim rugs.

Due to supply chain issues, Nights & Weekends is still a work in progress and some of the art elements are unfinished. But the management team is glad that, after three years, they’re finally ready to open.

“People are happy to be out,” he says. “If the music is good, the drinks are good, the lighting is good... I’m struggling to say something other than ‘vibe,’ but it’s a good vibe.”

Nights & Weekends, 1009 W. Lake Street, open 4:45 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Sunday through Friday and 4:45 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Saturday.

Estereo

2450 North Milwaukee Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 360-8363 Visit Website

Nights & Weekends

1009 W. Lake Street, ,

Lone Wolf

806 West Randolph Street, , IL 60607 (312) 600-9391 Visit Website

Bar Deville

701 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 (312) 929-2349 Visit Website
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