Unlock BlackBook’s Nightlife Badge on Foursquare!

In partnership with the aspirationally driven folks at HBO’s How to Make It in America, we’re proud to offer you the chance to achieve a personal gold standard by unlocking the exclusive BlackBook Nightlife badge on Foursquare. Make HTMIIA your Foursquare friend, then check into any 3 of 20 possible New York nightlife or dining destinations (restaurants are the new nightlife, you know), and you’ll get the shiny new Foursquare badge pictured here. Soon we may provide an even more material motivation to have fun with this, but for now, download the BlackBook Guide iPhone app and start hitting the hotspots. Complete list of eligible joints after the jump.

Allen & Delancey Apothéke Balthazar Boom Boom Room The Breslin Butter Coffee Shop Craft Daniel Elmo Japonais Macao Trading Co. Matsuri Morimoto Norwood Pegu Club Per Se Soho House The Spotted Pig Tenjune

BlackBook Intern Attack Squad: Operation ‘Gossip Girl’

Even when not stalking Robert Pattinson or being Ryan Adams, our trusty interns remain vigilant. Early this morning, we received a tip that went straight to the BlackBook Red Phone: the cast of Gossip Girl was shooting on location at Japonais, two blocks from our office. I quickly dispatched our elite squad of hardworking, perpetually awesome BlackBook interns on a mission: locate the cast of Gossip Girl. Document them with your high-tech image capture devices. Extend a copy of our tangible paper product visible in the frame. Finally, exfiltrate from the hot zone and return safely to HQ. Did they succeed?

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Marie Baginski and Lindsay Abrams: Chace Crawford and Ed Westwick were sexier in person … especially with their arms around us. Hopefully they didn’t feel our hearts jumping out of our chests. Also, we were the least creepy people there. Everyone else was running after them. We just stood there. They came to us. Leighton Meester looked gorgeous and put together. We gave her an issue of BlackBook that she excitedly accepted, and we asked for a picture with her. She was really sweet, though we could tell she was in a rush.

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Megan Kunecki, Joanna Rubinstein, and Liz Pirozzi: It was 85 degrees today, but when Ed Westwick and Chace Crawford put their arms around us to pose for a picture the temperature quickly skyrocketed.

Your interns get coffee; ours get plugs from the biggest stars in TV. Ladies, you can leave early today.

Chicago: Top 10 Places to Eat with Strangers

imageCommunal tables in Chicago are huge right now. Get it? Because the tables are …

1. avec (West Loop) – The place is always busy, no matter what time you arrive, so don’t feel bad for asking those at a semi-full table if you can sit there. Just feel bad if they say no. 2. The Bristol (Bucktown/Wicker Park) – The main room is as intimate as the communal seating. Pass the salt and share your grilled prawns, would you? 3. Room 21 (South Loop) – Long tables and the long bar at this former Al Capone speakeasy make you feel like royalty upon arrival. The vintage leopard oil painting on the wall should provide a perfectly good conversation starter.

4. The Publican (West Loop) – Pull out any chair on Sunday for their four-course, family-style menu for $45. If you’re lucky, a couple of cute Ukie V artists will be sitting where your Grandma Pat and Aunt Elsie usually do. 5. The Gage (Loop) – Eat some locally crafted sausage, drink some wine, then invite all your new friends across the street for some pictures in front of “the bean” at Millennium Park. 6. Carnivale (West Loop) – Excuse yourself often for the ceviche bar at this Nuevo Latin restaurant. 7. Mado Market & Eatery (Bucktown/Wicker Park) – Rub elbows with strangers at this huge table made of wood salvaged from an old farmhouse. Don’t let anyone distract you from reading the entire menu on the ever-changing blackboard. 8. Graham Eliot (River North) – The copper-clad communal table looks even better when it’s covered in rosemary skewered sweetbreads, olive-crusted swordfish, and crispy pork belly. 9. Sepia (West Loop) – At a hotspot like this, it’s hard to get a seat without reservations, but that’s where the two communal tables save the day for those who can’t wait for their Berkshire pork chops or duck fat fried potatoes. 10. Japonais (North Side) – It’s in the Green Dining Room (as opposed to the Red Dining Room) where the long community table runs along the one wall. Entertain everyone by ordering “The Rock,” a steaming black stone served at your table upon which you cook paper-thin slices of sirloin beef.