Chicago, Illinoisk



Bars, bachelorettes, and one bathroom.

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 area!

Stalker #1
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 local DJs.

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!

Stalker #2
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.

Copyright 2003 Club Systems International Magazine
Copyright 2003 TESTA Communications