Bars, bachelorettes, and
At 640 N. Dearborn in
downtown Chicago, a prominent building that housed Excalibur
and adjoining club Aura has been transformed. What was once
Aura, plus a large portion of the old Excalibur, is now Vision.
In 2002, local promoters Relode brought in the legendary Spundae
party from the West Coast, with their global line-up of top
DJs and live acts. Since then, Saturdays at Vision have seen
the likes of DJ Tiësto, Paul Oakenfold, the Crystal Method,
Armin van Buuren, and Mauro Picotto gracing the decks in the
main room. See what our valiant NightStalkers had to say:
The place was so big that each one of them handled a separate
From the first minute I walked in, I was amazed by this place.
The décor was impeccable, and there was plenty of room
to move around, even on a packed night. Starting off in the
Vision Room, we were standing in the middle of an elevated
dance floor, which was surrounded by two levels overlooking
the dance floor itself. A large dome covered the room, and
the sound system was decent enough. The cover charge was almost
reasonable when taking into account the impressive line-up
of DJs playing at Spundae and Relode events every Saturday
night, with the Vision Room’s primary features being
The third level also featured a protruding balcony with a
bird’s eye view of the room. Just past the third level
bar, there was a large seating area, with circular booths
and a separate bar; very chill, very nice. It seems like there’s
a bar every 20 feet in this place! From there, we entered
the main room, and there was no turning back.
There was a major negative, though: With only one bathroom
located up on the third level, things got a bit “cramped,”
so to speak. In addition, having a bar on each level was a
huge plus, but drinks here were more expensive than we expected.
Nevertheless, the staff was very accommodating, and the crowd
remained on an upbeat tip throughout the night, enjoying the
dancing and the atmosphere. We also heard there was a funky
VIP room – think mink swings and leopard print furniture
– with separate bathrooms in a downstairs area, though
we were not sure if it was open. We remained busy enough in
the rest of the club that it didn’t even matter!
Massive. That’s a good word to describe Vision, and
the Spundae/Relode nights here are something else. My main
thing during this excursion was the Main Room, which I entered
from the adjoining Vision Room (also known as Vision Dome).
We first saw a huge bar flanked by a couple of rows of tables
and chairs, and off to the side was a private, curtained VIP
area . We then proceeded to the main dance floor in the atrium,
dominated by a wicked sound system, relentless lighting, and
gorgeous laser routines.
To give you an idea of this building’s size, although
we came in from the Vision Room’s third level, the Main
Room went up another three levels. On the second level of
the Main Room was the DJ booth, overlooking the dance floor
and providing a great view for both the crowd and the DJ.
I’m sure the DJs are not complaining about the mini-bar
sitting right behind the booth! Going up a spiral staircase,
we found the third level, and there we saw – surprise,
surprise – an enormous bar, but this one had a huge
stained glass wall behind it. Tables and chairs were scattered
all around, and some people were still dancing up here, though
the lounge feel was more relaxed.
The vibe was good, the atmosphere was exhilarating, the music
was thumping, and the crowd was diverse. That being said,
I’m compelled to point out that my hearing was threatened
by the placement of speakers in the venue. In some parts of
the club, the music was bordering on cheesy, and there was
the occasional bachelorette party floating about. All in all
though, Vision is definitely a repeat experience.