In the subzero temperatures of an early February frost, Pharmacy unlocked its soon-to-be-opened doors for a sneak-peek party. Those brave enough to venture out in the cold enjoyed a few hours in a '60s-inspired paradise, complete with brown leather banquettes, wenge wood tables, retro wallpaper and black-and-white, rock 'n' roll photographs by Paul Natkin (who's known for having captured some sweet shots of the Rolling Stones, among others). In keeping with the venue’s salubrious theme, a vintage "Prescriptions" sign hung above the dimly lit bar, and candles flickered inside beakers.
Then, the doors of West Town's new lounge shut. They stayed shut until July of 2007, when the place reopened with a new name: Relax. It turns out that the 1987 Illinois Pharmaceutical Act prohibits companies that aren't actually pharmacies from titling themselves as such. Instead of prescription pills, the kitchen at Relax (overseen by Chef John Manion) slings out burgers (with cheese, if you please), fries and fried egg sandwiches. Weekly events include the Sunday Tea Dance, which takes place from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. and offers a menu of discounted drinks. Try the $6 Garbage Bloody Mary, stirred up with homemade bloody mary mix and garnished with a lime and a Slim Jim. Monday’s Plug 'n' Play special allows guests to plug in their iPods and play DJ for 20-minute stretches. And on Tuesdays, "Bourbon, Blues and Dusty Grooves" is as soulful as it sounds.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Jennifer Berg