Narcisse Chicago, Illinois



A champagne bar supernova?

It’s no surprise that the central décor of a venue called Narcisse is an elegant, 30-foot-long gilded mirror. For patrons able to look past their own reflections, Chicago’s 400-cap champagne salon and caviar bar also boasts marble bars, vintage chandeliers, private booths and velvet slip-covered bar stools. The three spaces – the main “Anteroom”; VIP offshoot “Krug Salon”; and basement lounge “Boudoir” – maintain the extravagant theme with deep reds and golds, and mirrors and art. The club offers cigar smoking, champagne tasting and even perhaps napping on the Boudoir’s king-sized bed. The self-appointed beautiful people may frequent Narcisse, but what do the real, fun-loving nightlife people say? We sent the Stalkers to see if it’s all smoke and mirrors.

Stalker #1
Narcisse is located in the heart of it all in the Near North district of Chicago, blocks from the city’s other hot clubs. My fiancée and I decided to check out the Unite party, which is every second Saturday of the month hosted by Johnny Chaos and Adrian Martenez. We arrived early though, to take advantage of Narcisse’s food – we heard it’s something you can’t miss.

Around 10 p.m. there are minimal people in the long and narrow “Lincoln Park-style” lounge, but the place is putting up a good vibe already.

Once I stuffed my valet ticket in my pocket and checked our coats, we headed to the lounge-y area behind the DJ booth and took some seats, as the guys were tweaking the system to their likings. We ordered our drinks: Me, an Effen Black and Red Bull; my fiancé, a Bud Light. Price: $20. Not cheap, but worth it. And the deep fried seafood collection of calamari and shrimp, so darn good. Seared Ahi Tuna, heaven. All I wanted to do after that was curl up on the velvety sofa, fall asleep and dream about what I just ate.

But by the time we were done eating Ado and Johnny were into their set, and the club was near crowded.

The majority of our friends were in the house by 11:30-ish. Now our crew is rolling about 30 deep! Everyone was liquored up and having a great time, yet laid back because of the kick-back/anti-superclub atmosphere Narcisse has.

The night wrapped up at about 2:30 when the lights came on, the packed club funneled out the doors and everyone started checking their calendars to see what day the next Unite event is.

Stalker #2
Being the perfect guy I took my girlfriend out to Narcisse for a nine p.m. romantic dining experience, to be followed up by a crazy nightclub night. Of course she eats up the scene, a posh atmosphere filled with what passes for socialites, gliteratti and celebs in Chicago. I’m from New York, but I enjoy the people-watching anyway. Narcisse is pretty classy for the Midwest, with lavish décor like a huge gold framed mirror, erotic artwork and marble statues, but though the chandeliers were charming, the lighting was way too dim.

Being in the music business I appreciate the sounds the place offers: They’ve booked some pretty big-name global house DJs upstairs in the main room, and in the downstairs lounge they were spinning good hip-hop sets, which was fun for dancing and just, well, lounging. Then again the velvet rope master for the lounge was overly rude; I guess he was trying to keep the riffraff from ruffling the sheets on the ornate bed down there.

Overall Narcisse had something of an NYC feel, with a bit more unwarranted pompousness. It’s pretty fitting, too, that this place is named after Narcissus: Plenty of people there were a bit too self-loving, but I don’t think it was the club’s long mirror that started it.

Stalker #3
We pull up to Narcisse around 9:45 pm for the Unite party. Inside, the smaller-than-I-anticipated place is starting to clear out the dinner crowd and pack in the party people.Good thing, because the dinner crowd seems too old and rich for my taste.

The music starts off in a deep-sexy-futuristic-tech-prog-funk sort of way. By 11 the place is packed, everyone is getting there drink on. Johnny hops on the decks, he brings the set to the next level. 12:30 the place is jumping, and no one gives a sh*t about the snooty staff, velvet drapes or wannabe chic design, the party is real. The DJs tag-team for the rest of the night, dropping sick beat after sick beat. And the fine girls kept on dancing and eating it up like it was better than the beluga caviar!

Copyright 2005 Club Systems International Magazine
Copyright 2005 TESTA Communications