Allegedly Bluelight used to be just like any other friendly dive: cheap drinks, dingy walls and friendly regulars. But after an interior facelift in summer 2006, this late-night bar seems to be struggling to find it's new identity.
Now armed with a list of Stoli drink specials and house DJs, Bluelight is poised to attract the appletini-swilling crowd rather than the PBR-drinking dive bar regulars, and the interior is fairly polished, with shiny wooden countertops and flat-screen TVs. Yet the classic, aging neon PBR sign still hangs outside as a beacon welcoming after-hours drinkers.
At least the bar has not done away with the Green River soda. You can still order it straight, as a mixer or within the Chicago River cocktail, which includes Green River and Bacardi Apple. And like any good after-hours bar, $2 PBRs are on tap. Those looking for something else can choose from a short list of domestic beers, vodka and rum specialty mixed drinks or standard cocktails, at an average price of five bucks.
Although it's known as the area's cop bar, Bluelight hardly finds a single person in uniform on a weekend night. You will, however, find a whole lot of industry players on Tuesdays, when Bluelight teams up with folks behind the Victor Hotel to host "Real Industry Night" parties.
Regardless of your feelings about Bluelight's changes, one thing's for sure: The bathrooms are a hell of a lot nicer than those you'd find at any dive bar.
Centerstage Reviewer: Sarah Dahnke