Choose & booze

Have you made it to the polls today? We know that choosing between G-Rod and J-Baar is tough, so we held our own election for readers. Decisions should have been a tad easier. Beer or martinis? Dancing or drinking? Taqueria or diner? Over 10 days, readers logged more than 4,000 votes in our online poll. Here's what you choose to make your big night out a success when it comes to …

... the drink menu:
53.6% beer list
46.4% martini list
Our pick: Cooper's--A Neighborhood Eatery
For much more than Miller Lite, head to Cooper's--A Neighborhood Eatery. This unpretentious gastropub across from Lakeview's Bailiwick Arts Center offers about 75 beers from nearly 12 countries. Current staff favorites include O'Fallon ($4.50 for a 12-ounce bottle), a Missouri beer made with real pumpkin that co-owner Craig Fass expects to be gone by Thanksgiving; and the only beer Cooper's carries in a can, Wittekerke Belgian white ale ($4.50 for 11.2 ounces).

... late-night bar munchies:
51.4% diner
48.6% taqueria
Our pick: White Palace Grill
Sometimes you need a hangover cure immediately after you finish cocktailing. When that sometimes comes, we go to White Palace Grill, where they serve up classic diner food 'round the clock. And, of course, nothing says nightcap like a juicy cheeseburger with a side of fries.

... working the gay bar scene:
65.7% dancing
34.3% cruising
Our pick: Berlin
So you like dancing more than cruising, huh? OK, fine, we'll play along. Go to longtime fave Berlin, where beats are still going on 'til the wee hours, and that tiny dance floor's as sweaty as ever. If you decide to--well, what the heck?--do a little hooking up, you'll find folks here are not exactly wallflowers.

... getting your groove on:
66.1% DJs
33.9% jukebox
Our pick: Smart Bar
With the city's most consistent lineup of danceable DJs, Smart Bar draws a diverse crowd that's all about the beats. The lineup of resident DJs reads like a who's who of Chicago house music, including DJ Heather and Justin Long. Saturday, Kaskade takes over Smart Bar; you can catch residents DJ Colette and DJ Heather with Dayhota and Lady D at SuperJane's Annual Thanksgiving eve bash Nov. 22.

... keeping the party going all night:
51.3% dancing
48.7% drinking
Our pick: Zentra
Among the ever-changing cast of players on Weed Street, there are two things you can count on: The dance floors at Zentra are always going to be packed, and the party won't even shut down early. The club stays open until 4 a.m. on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and "Jack Fridays," when house DJs spin. (This Friday, Derrick Carter hits the decks.) Saturdays, the beats go on until 5 a.m

... singing your heart out:
59.7% backing track karaoke
40.3% live band karaoke
Our pick: Louie's Pub
When it comes to karaoke, passion can be more important--at least more entertaining--than how well you carry a tune. That's why we head to Louie's Pub, where five nights of karaoke (every day except Mondays and Wednesdays) and a cordless mic mean you can bring your blistering rendition of REO Speedwagon's "Keep on Loving You" right up in the face of an unsuspecting bargoer.

... ordering a shot:
62.8% Jager bomb
37.2% car bomb
Our pick: Big House
$6 isn't bad. $5 is pretty standard. You can even find 'em for $4 at lots of frat boy hangs. But $3 is the money shot--especially if you're buying--when you take your friends to Big House on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night to get, well, bombed.

... watching the game at a sports bar:
51.4% number of TVs
48.6% number of seats
Our pick: Victory Liquors
When it comes to watching the game, we like Lincoln Park newbie Victory Liquors, where the 29 high-def plasma TVs-- plus an 85-by-164 inch projection screen--mean the action's always within view.

... overexposed celeb nightcrawlers to avoid:
64% David Schwimmer
36% Jeremy Piven
Our pick: Rockit
There's a chance you'll spot David Schwimmer at Enclave, Sound-bar or Fulton Lounge. (We have.) But if you really want to steer clear of the ex-"Friends" star, stay far, far away from Rockit, where Schwimmer, when in town, often hangs out with buddy and Rockit owner Billy Dec.

[ Karen Budell, Chris LaMorte, Matt McGuire, Matt Pais and M. Kathleen Pratt contributed to this story. ]

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