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Chicago Nightlife Awards to Recognize Bartenders, Doormen and More

 The first-ever Chicago Nightlife Awards will be held Tuesday at Concord Music Hall, 2047 N. Milwaukee Ave.
The first-ever Chicago Nightlife Awards will be held Tuesday at Concord Music Hall, 2047 N. Milwaukee Ave.
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LOGAN SQUARE — After Derek Berry and his friend were nominated for a Nightlife Award by New York City's Paper Magazine, he wondered why there wasn't such a thing in Chicago.

The culture magazine's Nightlife Awards — now in its 10th year — generally focus on New York nightlife, but in 2010 it included an "America's Best Party" category. Among the nominees was Rehab Mondays at the Debonair, put on by Berry and fellow DJ Rick Carrico.

Though they didn't win, it got Berry thinking.

"I was there [in New York for the Nightlife Awards], and I was like, 'Wow. I can't believe this has never been done in Chicago," he said. "Over the next couple years, I was like, 'Man, I would love to do that.' So we're bringing that idea here and putting our own twist on it."

Those first-ever Chicago Nightlife Awards will be held Tuesday night at Concord Music Hall and feature presenters such as Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) and state Rep.-elect Will Guzzardi.

The Chicago version of the event focuses a bit more on the nitty-gritty of the city's nightlife with categories such as best bartender, best doorman, best bottle service and manager of the year.

"People are like, 'Man, you should have best rock band, or stuff like that,' and I'm like 'Yeah, but this is more for people that are working,'" he said.

Still, there will be awards to recognize some of those in the spotlight, such as Producer/Artist of the Year and Best Go-Go Dancer, but the awards will focus a lot on the venues themselves with categories such as Best Rooftop, Best New Club and Nightclub of the Year.

"We definitely focused on the service part of it," Berry said.

Like Paper Magazine's version though, the awards show will be a big bash that will include all the awards ceremony experience, including a red carpet, a step-and-repeat backdrop where people can stop and strike a pose, and banquet-style seating.

There will also be live bands, a comedian and a burlesque show, and the awards show itself will be followed by an after-party DJ'd by the winner of the Best DJ award.

"I think we put together a good show," Berry said. "We're excited to see it all come together."

The Concord Music Hall is at 2047 N. Milwaukee Ave. The awards show starts at 9 p.m. and the after-party starts at 11 p.m. Doors open at 8 p.m.

There is no cover before 10 p.m. and $5 after. Those planning to attend are encouraged to RSVP here.