Skip to content

Park 52: First Fridays Party Photos

First Fridays in Chicago.

Before hip-hop went mainstream, Chicago’s club scene in the ’80s and ’90s was decidedly segregated.

Distinct racial barriers begot a league of black social clubs led by 601 Productions, a social club founded by six professional friends who wanted an upscale place to party.

601 Productions is credited as the first black social club to integrate the club scene with its party at Faces, an elite predominantly white venue.

The Faces party was sold out, and immediately thereafter Faces closed. Some rationalize that Faces was losing momentum all along, others suggested that the sea of black faces led the venue’s core group of white partiers to abandon it.

Gradually, clubs in the shadow of the Gold Coast, five-star hotels, and other venues opened their doors to the young black professionals, spawning several successful black social clubs including The Committee, Rat Pack, and First Fridays.

The black social clubs — with the exception of the distinguished gentlemen of the Rat Pack — dissipated over time.

Until now.

First Fridays, an after-work event where professionals meet and mingle on the First Friday of each month, has passed the torch to a new school of young professionals. The expert partiers recently packed Park 52 Lounge in President Obama’s neighborhood of Hyde Park.