5 spots for music fans
Wicker Park and Bucktown's top music venues and more
The Empty Bottle (August 29, 2012)
1572 N. Milwaukee Ave. 773-489-3160
It’s not the prettiest space in the city, and some of the rock acts can creep toward the “generic” label. Still, DD has been home to early shows from acts such as Kid Rock and The Killers; In ’97, the Rolling Stones played a secret show—marquee: “Rolling Stones: One Night Only—$7.”
2011 W. North Ave. 773-278-6600
At this Wicker Park bar smack in the hopping intersection of North/Damen/Milwaukee, DJs spin on the first floor and rock/hip-hop acts—both local and up-and-coming touring artists—usually perform in the second-floor Cabaret Room. Once upon a time, Subterranean was a brothel, which is hinted at in details like a Tiffany chandelier hanging from the ceiling--not exactly a rock club staple.
1532 N. Milwaukee Ave. 773-235-3727
Few people are buying CDs anymore, and even fewer stores are buying back those discs you don’t want. One of Chicago’s best exceptions is this Wicker Park shop (with other locations at 3126 N. Broadway in Lakeview and 26 E. Madison St. in the Loop), a spinoff of the original Lakeview location that opened in 1989. At Reckless, you have a reasonable shot at selling or trading (or just buying) records, DVDs, CDs, video games or catching the occasional in-store performance.
1035 N. Western Ave. 773-276-3600
Technically, this beloved indie rock club isn’t in Bucktown or Wicker Park (on the east side of Western Avenue south of Division Street, it’s a few blocks into Ukrainian Village), but it’s worth mentioning as an extension of its adjacent neighborhoods. The small space’s dinginess is part of the reason people like it, as is the sense that you could see a buzz band for around $5 to $10 before they break out into bigger venues and higher prices (past before-they-were-stars acts: Passion Pit, Girl Talk). Monday shows are free, and beers aren’t pricey.
1354 W. Wabansia Ave. 773-227-4433
Hideout is home to everything from low-key hoedowns to thoughtful folk-rock to improvisational jazz to the occasional dance party. Opened in 1934 as a tavern and hosting concerts since 1996, Hideout has historic Jack White- and Billy Corgan-related moments in its blood, and acts that would normally play larger venues still make a point to stop in from time to time.