The concept of Black Friday gets more out of control each year, but if it’s your way of getting into the holiday spirit, you cannot help but be drawn into the madness. This time around, though, at least have a bit of fabulous fun as you indulge in some special parties where shopping, sipping, and eating converge. Plus, the spectacular shopping doesn’t stop there. We’ve uncovered even more high-stylin’ soirees beyond the unofficial holiday kickoff, so prepare to get your shopping done long before the season really shifts into overdrive.
A Pop-Up Party High in the Sky
Chef Markus Ford knows how to throw a mighty fine bash, and his “Sip, Shop, Savor” event should be no exception when it happens late Black Friday evening. In addition to providing a nice selection of appetizers for all who arrive, he’s gathered an impressive lineup of local clothing, furniture, and jewelry designers so you can shop until you drop, or just sit down and rest for a moment. Guests will be able to peruse Borris Powell’s ready-to-wear collections, Delphine Pontvieux’s men’s leather accessories,and more. Ford’s also requesting folks to bring an article of warm clothing for children and young adults in need. It will be donated to One Hope United’s Kenwood Community Center located on Chicago’s South Side. The party is $50 per person ($40 online) with a cash bar. It happens 6-9pm at Optima Sky Lounge, 200 E. Illinois Street.
Release the Suds
Also on Black Friday, Goose Island hosts nationwide release parties for Bourbon County Brand Stout in nine cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. It’s the annual post-Thanksgiving extravaganza when beer enthusiasts stand in lines for hours to be the first to taste one of the most decadent stouts on the planet. It happens all day (from 9-5) at North Clybourn Avenue and Kingsbury Street, as well as at the corners of Damen/Milwaukee/North avenues (noon-2pm) and Waveland and Southport avenues (3-5pm). There will be tastings of all four varieties, including coffee and vanilla flavors, and of course you’ll be able to take some home.
The Fashion Outlets of Chicago mall is guaranteed to be a zoo, but at least it aims to be a fun time with nonstop fashion shows, deejays, and so many deals on designer gear that your head will spin. Doors open at 10pm Thanksgiving night, so get ready for an all-nighter. If you get hungry, the restaurants will also be open. It’s located at 5220 Fashion Outlets Way.
Holy Haute Stuff
Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch in Water Tower Place opens early for hungry, hungry Black Friday shoppers with a special brunch taking place 9am-2pm. You’ll get to fuel up on dishes like the bacon & cheddar omelet, Bananas Foster French toast and steak & eggs. If you’re still craving Thanksgiving chow, you can also order the Thanksgiving on a Roll made of roasted turkey breast, stuffing, cranberry aioli, crispy onion strings, and sweet potato fries. 835 N. Michigan Ave., (312) 202-0500
Even More Cool Events Popping Up
A weeklong pop-up called Baubles, Beauty & Bubbles takes place at Spa Soak December 1-7, but the main event occurs 6-9pm December 4. That’s when girls will gather to shop eight local designers who will have you looking fierce for the entire holiday season. There will be an opportunity, of course, to buy gifts, plus guests will sip champagne and take advantage of complimentary spa services like makeup touchups and false eyelashes. 1733 N. Milwaukee Ave., (773) 395-9000
And the year’s final Dose Market happening occurs 10am-5pm on December 14. Dubbed “Holidose,” the event showcases 100 local businesses (and 15 from across the country) selling everything from edible delights to fashionable finds. In addition to shopping for unique women’s apparel, beauty products, children’s toys and more, guests will be treated to food and drink samples. There will also be a deejay and live music. It’s $8 online or $10 at the door (which includes a drink ticket). It takes place at Venue One, 1034 W. Randolph St.