The space at 871 E. Algonquin Road in Schaumburg has been occupied by a series of bars in the past few years, changing from Alumni Club to Mad Mark's Mystic Pizza and becoming Drink as of July 8. The newest incarnation is the best yet, taking advantage of the huge property to create a sprawl ing party space.
Motif: Mad Mark's kitschy, family-friendly décor has disappeared, replaced with all new furniture and state-of-the-art video, lighting and sound equipment. Flat-screen TVs show a mix of abstract patterns and photos of club goers that are often taken that night. The interior is highly compartmentalized, filled with loungelike nooks for groups to hang out in, each with its own décor. One space has black and red couches with mellow purple and red lights, while another features animal print furniture and easy access to the ice bar, where fiber optic lights give the stainless-steel counter the look of being frozen solid. The areas can be rented out for private parties, complete with their own dance floor, so Drink can host up to three 150 person parties on the same night.
Drink871 E. Algonquin Road, Schaumburg, (847) 397-3100, drinknightclub.com
Hours: 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. Friday; 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday
If you're not as into the nightclub scene, you can relax outdoors. The massive space includes plenty of tables, a small dance area, a huge fountain, fire pits, bags games and a sand volleyball court. Private parties can hang out in the cabanas, which have their own fridge for bottle service.
Service: The servers at Drink are primarily good-looking and sexily dressed women, but they're also all very friendly and helpful. The woman manning the shot bar was happy to chat about the drinks and the ice luge, a carved block of ice she pours the liquor through to cool it. Our server checked in regularly, and shot servers are constantly roaming the bar to offer test tubes of both standard spirits and brightly colored blends.
Liquid consumption: True to its name, Drink is focused on creative cocktails and shots. As soon as you walk in the door, you can quench your thirst by grabbing a bottle from a beer bucket or taking a shot from the ice luge at the shot bar. The bar puts a novel twist on classic shots, serving O bombs in a frozen orange, Patron in a frozen lime and lemon drops in a frozen lemon, giving them a refreshing and citrusy taste. They've been such a hit that the bar goes through 500 pieces of fruit each weekend. Drink's Perfect Margarita is the bar's most popular cocktail, a wonderfully mixed drink that's great for sipping on a hot summer night. Another favorite is Charlie Sheen's Tiger Blood, a sweet blend of vodka, peach schnapps, grenadine, strawberry puree and orange juice served steaming with dry ice.
Food: Drink's "Social Eats" menu offers small plates made to be shared. We enjoyed what we sampled, and found the food reasonably priced. As with the drink menu, many of the dishes are variations on bar classics. The jalapeño spinach cheese dip has a decent kick and is served with crispy wontons rather than chips. The ultimate kettle chip nachos are a cross between nachos and potato skins, with the large portion of chips covered in barbecue sauce, sour cream, cheese, bacon, tomatoes and scallions.
The heirloom margherita pizza has a beautiful look and taste, with the bright multicolored tomatoes topping a very crispy crust. Our favorite was the filet mignon slider with super-tender steak served with a delicious horseradish sauce. For a sweet treat, try Katie's Kisses, chocolate-covered strawberries served with whipped cream and strawberry sauce.
Crowd: The after-work crowd features plenty of 40- to 50-year-olds, with the demographics getting younger as the night gets later. Things seriously pick up around 9 p.m. and by midnight the club is almost entirely populated by 20-somethings. The dress code is lax, though people still tend to dress stylishly when they're not wearing shorts and tank tops to play volleyball.
Sounds: DJs spin every night, playing progressive and dance-oriented music inside and more relaxed tunes outdoors. Their sets are accompanied by performance artists, bringing out a mix of percussionists, fire jugglers, hula hoop girls, aerialists and go-go dancers.
Parking: The free lot is so massive that staff members equipped with light sticks guide traffic on busy nights.
Overall: Drink offers a great nightclub experience with excellent food and drinks, plenty of entertainment and room to spread out.