Best Lounge - 2006
"A man takes a drop too much once in a while," waxes The African Queen's Charlie Allnut. "It's only human nature." What better place to get your human nature on than at Chez Marilyn, a black-and-white-movie palace of a lounge decorated with classic-film one-sheets, full-length mirrors and strategically placed votives that ensure everyone benefits from movie-star lighting. Though large after-work crowds come for the free popcorn, jazzy rock and martinis in glasses as big around as film reels, it's the late hours that elevate the sometimes-piano bar to blockbuster status. Bartenders serve up top sellers such as the Gone With the Wind (Chez Marilyn's take on a fuzzy navel) and the Barkleys of Broadway (chocolate martini) until 2 a.m. on weeknights and 3 a.m. on weekends. If we didn't know we were in Alton, we'd swear we were an extra in Casablanca.