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Dashingly Debonair

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 12, 2007 4:01PM

Debonair could have easily outlined all that’s gone wrong with Wicker Park, but instead it neatly reminds us of when clubbing used to be fun. We stopped in last night to check out Felix Da Housecat’s return to Chicago, check in with superstar bartendeder Matt Murray, and get checked by The Prairie Cartel.

2007_01_debonair.jpgBreezing past the outlandish line outside Liz Armstong-style, we were greeted by an upstairs crowd going off its collective head to big beats. To our ears the mix wasn’t exceptional, but when someone gets a room full of rockers, clubbers, Trixies, and Chads all grooving to the same beat we’re not going to get too nitpicky. The upstairs is probably cavernous during the daytime, when liquor deliveries are wheeled in and the last night's receipts are counted, but night-time is the right time for the space, and all that empty space becomes valuable real estate bursting to the seams with bodies.

The real treat, to our ears, was downstairs though. The Prairie Cartel (primarily Scott Lucas of Local H and Blake Smith of Caviar) spins electronic music well-informed by their rocker resumes resulting in selections filled with personality. If you wanted seamless segues of faceless tunes then the upstairs space was for you, but if you wanted to get your sweat on to a distinctive mix oozing with personality then The Prairie Cartel was there to deliver.

Debonair is just the sort of club Chicago needs. It’s infused with the spirit of the city and recaptures the vibe of the nightlife that made us fall in love with clubbing in the first place. We admit we were skeptical at the outset, questioning if Wicker Park really needed another nightspot, but after last night, we feel the answer to that query is a resounding yes.

Image by Clayton Hauck.