Imagine having your 21st Birthday in Chicago — nothing more dreamlike, right? Oh yeah, until everyone starts bombarding the Facebook event asking "WHERE ARE WE GOING" and "CAN WE GO TO (INSERT HERE)," referring to that tacky tiki bar downtown everyone goes to when they turn 21. You are not tacky though, and you know this, so where else is there? 

Luckily, you aren't doomed to turn into a real adult human at the stroke of midnight surrounded by drunky-drunk "socialites" sipping $16 cocktails from a plastic coconut. Chicago has seven other dazzling options approved by me and enjoyed by me (turned 21 dead last in my friend group and boy, I earned ALL the sangria after a prohibition like that), so find your "Insta-Worthy" winner for your special night.

1. Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar, River North

basil, pizza, dough
Natalie Reehl

Quartino is rated #1 by almost all my friends for any event you can think of. With a menu of Italian tapas-style dishes ranging from pizza and pasta to beautiful seafood, there's no lack of cheap and delicious options for everyone to carbo-load on. They also offer very generous carafes of sangria (both red & white!) so a couple of those on the table is the perfect pregame. Don't believe me? Here's a photo of my first legal drink: 

wine, beer
Natalie Reehl

Yep, I'm proud of that one.

2. Big Star, Wicker Park

tacos, chicken
Natalie Reehl

This is where you go to pull out the big guns around 8 pm when you're feelin' a little freaky. With hot items such as the "Walking Taco," which is a deconstructed taco made in a cut open Fritos bag ON TOP of the Fritos, and a pitcher of margs stirred with a wooden spoon longer than your arm — it's a time to be had.

This location is also amidst really cool bars and older-crowd places to go, plus there are fairy lights strung above the outside seating in the summer, so you can't lose.

3. The Hampton Social, Near North

ice cream, chocolate, cake, cream
Natalie Reehl

This place is THE place for Instagram photos. You got a fancy new outfit for this big night out? Document it to a T here while holding one of these rose gold pineapple dranks filled with at least three types of alcohol and so much ice that your hands WILL fall off while posing for pictures.

The East Coast vibes include incredible seafood and apps, like the lobster mac & cheese, and the nautical-chic decor galore provides endless photo-ops. It's easily one of the most enjoyable settings in the bustling city.

4. John Barleycorn, Wrigleyville

Ah yes. Now comes the point in the night for some dancing, accepting weird shots from weirder people at the bar, and enjoying a good old fashioned beer on tap after all these fancy cocktails. John Barleycorn is feet from Wrigley Field so after a couple hours of being drunk & disorderly, you can go take a photo outside the field that you'll probably never post because you look #rachet. It's never been a bad time at the Barleycorn.

5. The J Parker, Lincoln Park

cocktail, tequila, ice, lime, juice, liquor, alcohol, rum
Natalie Reehl

Atop the Hotel Lincoln is the J Parker Rooftop Bar, with views for days and a menu that shan't disappoint. This is a great place for a late weekend brunch/lunch with the parents when they come to congratulate you on turning 21 but you're still somewhat #turnt from the night before, so you can just point out the window at something in the distance to continuously distract them from your profuse sweating. And, major mimosa-on-the-roof Instagram opportunity! 

6. The Berkshire Room, River North

Ok, this place is a little more *seductive* than the others and a good place to go with your significant other for a sexy glass of celebratory champagne or an IPA poured into a real adult glass. With cheese plates and dim lighting, you're not going to get in with your fake ID, so treat yourself to a legal night of speakeasy-surroundings and a ~chill~ vibe. And it's connected to the ACME Hotel, so if your significant other REALLY wants to treat you right... well.

7. AceBounce, Loop

Nothing says 21 like getting into a super-cool ping pong bar located downtown and filled with neon lights, modern "art" on the walls, and did we mention it's the only one like it in America? What started out as a London-based bar scene turned into a Chicago feature that's constantly full, fun, and where one would want to take some photos laying across the pong table for the #insta. Jk, don't do that, but do make a reservation for your group and drink to your heart's desire. And then play drunk ping pong.