Chicago’s Level Reopens as Swanky ProofSeptember 16, 2010 By: Amelia Levin
Level, the 6-year-old nightclub in the “Viagra Triangle,” where Rush and State Streets meet in Chicago’s Gold Coast and swanky singles flock to meet one another, will reopen this week as Proof. “They’re going for a more upscale feel,” says Joe Vongkaysone, president of EvenFlow Promotion Group, who’s working with the club on reshaping its programming to attract an older, more sophisticated crowd.
Although the ownership and management remains the same, “it’s going to be a completely new and different club,” Vongkaysone says. A winding staircase connecting the bottom and top floors now faces the floor-to-ceiling windows making up the entire front façade of the white-painted stone building overlooking Rush Street.
The idea behind this, explains Vongkaysone, is to breathe more life into the interior of the club from a street-side view. This will now showcase people walking up and down the stairs (the old staircase used to be hidden at the back of the club, making the upstairs more difficult to access). And, with an opened up interior, the second-floor seating will overlook the first floor in a catwalk-style of architecture.
Club owners also removed the downstairs private room at the back to create a larger dance floor, coupled with an enhanced lighting and sound system. “Everything is bigger and wider and trying to be more like Cuvee in a way,” says Vongkaysone, referring to the magenta-hued, glamorized sleek ultra-lounge located in the River North section of town. Cuvee draws in well-heeled patrons in their late 20-somethings and older who are looking for sophisticated drinks, impromptu fashion shows and some good, old-fashioned people-watching.
That said, clubgoers can expect the same type of amenities at Proof, which will inevitably mean a longer line out front as well as cover charges without a guest list. Proof, given its new name, will focus more on the drinks themselves, with a specialty cocktail lineup including Prohibition-era, classic cocktails, fruit-and-herb Martinis and drinks with the bubbly designed by Southern Wine & Spirits Master Mixologist Bridget Albert, founder of the Academy of Spirits and Fine Service in Chicago and author of Market-Fresh Mixology.