Face the Music Rush Street Club Revives the Age of Disco, Beckoning Patrons to Dance, Dance, Dance

Article excerpt

Byline: Jack Helbig Daily Herald Correspondent

What You Need to Know

- Name: Faces

- Location: 223 W. Ontario, Chicago

- Parking: $6 for valet, otherwise street parking or pay lots

- Directions: Take the Kennedy to the Ohio exit. Drive east to LaSalle, turn north one block. Drive west on Ontario two blocks. Look for the big sign for Magnum's steakhouse. Faces is behind Magnum's

- Area: River North

- Hours: 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. Wednesday through Friday, to 5 a.m. Saturday, from 7 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday and Tuesday

- Cover: $5 on Thursday (no cover for ladies on Thursday); $10 Friday and Saturday; no cover Sunday or Wednesday

- Special events: Club Rio (salsa, meringue and disco) on Wednesday, lessons start at 9 p.m. Ballroom (swing and retro) on Sunday

- Libations: Soft drinks $1.95; mixed drinks $3.25 and up

- Edibles: Full dinner menu from Magnum's is available

- Music: Disco always, salsa and swing each once a week

- What to wear: Think disco and dress accordingly. (You can get away with casual, but be forewarned some couples show up dressed to the nines)

The tune is kinda familiar but the beat is unmistakable: "Dance!"

Thump! "Dance, dance, dance!" It's that steady bump bump bump that's been burned into the memories of anyone who lived through the disco era. And on the dance floor the couples are partying like it's 1979, stepping and turning and clapping.

In one corner of the dance floor a man in a crew neck shirt and khakis spins his partner, in designer jeans and a loose, white top, with such cool expertise it even surprises her. As her shoulder-length hair whips around she laughs, shocked but delighted, and when his hands lace over her stomach and he pulls her to him, she cuddles close, and they step, step, sway, sway, step, step like they've been doing this for years.

In a sense it's always 1979 at Faces, the new retro disco that opened behind Magnum's steak and lobster house on Ontario.

Named after the undisputed diva of Chicago's discos, it's the fabulously famous private club on Rush Street with all the fish tanks and art on the walls and the dramatic dance floor that was very much Chicago's answer to Studio 54.

At its height, in the late '70s and early '80s, Faces was "The Disco in Chicago," regularly attracting Chicago's celebs and glitterati- sports figures and stars on tour and local news anchors -to its ultra-exclusive confines .

Then the disco era ended, and though Faces remained open to the end of the '80s, it, like Studio 54 in New York, never again had the cutting edge cachet it had at its height.

Now, nearly a decade later, restaurateur Fred Hoffmann has decided the time is right to rekindle the spirit of the late '70s and early '80s.

"A golden age of Chicago night life," Hoffmann calls it, though anyone walking through the crowds that gather on Ontario between Dearborn and Wells on any Saturday night may dispute the idea that the age has ended. …