When it comes to unoriginal bar/club names, "Taboo" tops the list…even when it's spelled wrong. But for this River North spot, the moniker may actually fit. Before the locale became Tabu, scandal consumed the Ice Bar, where a bodyguard for a Chicago Bear was shot and killed and the owner was linked to the mob.
Still, the current owners of Tabu don't want you to think of its past when you party here. They vamped up the space with a mostly female staff sporting short shorts, fish nets and corset tops. Go-go dancers wear even less, shaking their "things" on large black ottomans perfectly placed in front of beige banquettes reserved for bottle service.
Clubbers who like it one cocktail at a time get their drinks from the 30-foot bar in back, and then make their way to the deep-chocolate couches. For now, Tabu just occupies the second floor, though there are plans to open the first floor in the future.
Music and drink specials vary nightly; on the Saturday we visited, $6 Long Islands and Reggaeton, Latin and dancehall sounds, flowed freely. Although Tabu was hardly packed, the diverse, small crowd included Latinos, blacks and typical River North partiers.
With little to no cover and cheap cocktails, Tabu's a thrifty choice River North (who knew there was such a thing?), but hurry: Once this place makes a name for itself, cover charges will surge and drink deals will surely disappear.
Centerstage Reviewer: Maya Henderson