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David Lissner
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Ten places to go on Black Wednesday, Chicago 2012

black turkey

The eve of Thanksgiving has come to be called “Black Wednesday, ” suppose by extension from Black Friday, the post-holiday shopping day that — it’s to be hoped — puts retailers in the black. The pre-Thanksgiving night out gets people in a celebratory mood as they congregate with family and friends.

Of course, maybe it’s called Black Wednesday because so many of the folks who aren’t stuck doing the cooking on Thursday use it as an excuse to drink themselves blind before the stress of Thanksgiving dinner with the family.

Here are a few Chicagoland hot spots for starting your weekend tomorrow.

  1. Drink Wild Turkey bourbon cocktails for $5 and Wild Turkey shots for $4 all night at O’Donovan’s Pub and Restaurant in North Center, and nibble on Wild Turkey Balls (maraschino cherries marinated in Wild Turkey) — a shot-glass full for $1. Wine and food specials feature as well, and the kitchen stays open until 1 a.m.

  2. Nibble half-price tapas from 5 to 7 p.m. at People Tapas Lounge in Wicker Park. Stay for dinner and then DJ J. Gridges’ world-music beats and drink specials till 2 a.m.

  3. Salute Black Wednesday with black truffles at Fresco 21 in Rosemont salutes Black Wednesday with Chef Cameron Grant’s fettuccine con funghi featuring fresh truffles, wild mushrooms, marsala, thyme, Parmigiano Reggiano and cream over house-made linguine, $21. Black cocktail specials include the $10 “Black Listed” (Jameson Black and ginger ale), the $9 “Black Russian” (Kahlua and Absolut Vodka) and the $6 “Black and Tan” (Guinness and Bass Ale).

  4. Division Ale House in Wicker Park features “black” drink deals starting at 4 p.m. including $3 Black Bushmills Irish Whiskey shots, $5 Crown Royal Black Whisky and Coke cocktails, $5 Guinness Stout imperial pints and $5 Malibu Black and Stormy cocktails plus “black” food such as $7.99 black-and-an mac and cheese (rotini pasta, creamy cheddar cheese sauce, Harp Irish Lager and Guinness stout). The kitchen is open until midnight on November 21. DJ Storm spins tunes from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. with no cover charge.

  5. Drink till you see black at Bar Umbriago, which offers a $40 all-you-can-drink Black Wednesday deal with a DJ spinning tunes from 9 p.m. to midnight.

  6. Help make the holidays a little less black for less fortunate this Wednesday at I Dream of Falafel. Bring a can of food into any of the three locations 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and get lunch, such as a falafel wrap with cabbage slaw and pickled turnips, vegan platter with baba ganoujeh or lamb kebabs with roasted red pepper hummus, along with a beverage for only $5. The canned goods will be donated to 650 pantries through The Greater Chicago Food Depository.

  7. Untitled in River North pours a free taste of Jim Beam’s newest bourbon, Devil’s Cut from 7 to 9 p.m. From 8 p.m. to 11 a.m. neo-rockabilly band The Hot Rod Hucksters plays followed by a set from DJ Greg Corner.

  8. Franklin Tap in the Loop launches a $5 Guinness beer cocktail menu tomorrow, featuring the “Black Velvet,” Guinness floated with prosecco; “Black Frank,” half Guinness, half Pale Frank (Franklin Tap’s custom brew); “Black Hearted Lady,” half Guinness and half Bell’s Two Hearted Ale; and the “Loaded Guinness,” Guinness floated with Smirnoff Marshmallow vodka and creme de cacao and garnished with mini marshmallows. The black libations are available through Nov. 30.

  9. The “Black Out Black Wednesday” Trolley Crawl runs every 30 minutes all night between Lottie’s in Bucktown, The Pony in Roscoe Village and Frontier in Noble Square. Sample Heineken, Avion and Malibu cocktails en route and enjoy drink specials, including $4 Heineken and Heineken Light, $4 Malibu Black, and $5 Avion Tequila at each destination. Karaoke also features at Lottie’s, a live Honky Tonk country band plays at The Pony and Frontier hosts a special speakeasy party. The trolley rides are free.

  10. Sop up all that booze at Burger Joint in River North which will be open till 5 a.m. serving handcrafted burgers such as the “hot mess” (with chili, onions and Merkts cheddar) and the “hangover” (with bacon, a fried egg, tomato and American cheese), $6.99.