Smokey Hollow is less nightclub, more private club.
You can tell when you walk up to the door that this place is different. For one: the bouncers. They are genuinely nice guys. Unlike the rest of River North, they don’t get off on dashing the dreams of dudes that haven’t managed to bribe hot chicks to come in with them. The space is familiar to those who remember Boardroom and RiNo and they haven’t reinvented the wheel here with Smokey Hollow, but every little touch shows that these guys are total nightlife veterans.
This place was meant for bottle service. But they’re smart about it. Tables are large and meant to be danced on. As are the benches and ledges, so no need to limit your plethora of go-go dancers. There’s also space in front of the table if your entourage exceeds the mere table space and they’re again not dicks about how many people can be on your list.
Your evening will be marked by performances – burlesque dancers, vaudeville on Thursdays, contortionists, the girl who dances with the grinder saw – all sorts of things. And I get the feeling that the longer they’re around, the more daring and diverse these shows will become.
I sat down with Robbie Schloss, longtime nightlife impresario and half of the owning ChiIL Productions team and asked him what makes Smokey Hollow so different, “Where do I start?! I love how intimate our venue is, no matter where your table is you’re in the center of the party. We designed the venue so there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Everything in the venue was custom built and designed to elevate the guests’ experience. We take that same approach with our staff and our products too. We are bringing something new to Chicago’s nightlife, whether it be a pop up entertainment show or our “cigarette girls” passing popcorn and candy. We have gone to great lengths to ensure the aesthetic and experience at Smokey Hollow is unlike anything else in the city.”
For those who think they are “over” the club scene – let Smokey Hollow change your mind. They even have those little cocktail swords for your martini! This jaded club-goer was intrigued.