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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Saturday, May 18

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Andrew / May 31, 2006 11:52 PM

(Question suggested by Jennifer.)

Since the question's open to any form of entertainment, I'll say Comisky Park. I loved that park -- even have a brick from it, stolen from under the fence when they were tearing it down.

As far as musical entertainment, Poplar Creek was a good place to see outdoor shows, and much more convenient to me than the World Music Theater, since I lived in the NW 'burbs.

Kris / June 1, 2006 12:20 AM

I only had a couple of chances to visit the Rainbo roller rink before it was torn down, but I regret it every time I see the empty lot. What a shame that the last vestige of a century-old entertainment complex be razed for yet another condo project.

Steve / June 1, 2006 12:28 AM

I'll show my age and say Lounge Ax. And show my bitchiness by noting that I avoided all of the closing festivities like the plague. But we'll always have the memories, like the New Year's that a former friend of mine vomited all over the bar, then berated me for not being able to drive us home in her stick-shift ride.

And The Hacienda, of course, even if I've never actually been to Engerland. Like Rainbo Rink, it has been replaced by condos, though in the Hac's case the new luxury dwellings are known by the former club's name. Perverse peeps, them Mancs.

printdude / June 1, 2006 6:49 AM

I have fond memories of Poplar Creek, and fonder memories of the Bismarck: I saw Frankie Goes to Hollywood there and the damn floor broke!
But my Favorite closed venue has to be Dreamerz, which used to be on Milwaukee. I have many memories of sunrise-watching in the upstairs room.

charlie D / June 1, 2006 7:46 AM

Lounge Axe and it's predecessor The West End.

relis / June 1, 2006 8:09 AM

lakeview lounge on north broadway.

vit / June 1, 2006 8:15 AM

Does anyone remember the Avalon on Belmont? I saw a few bands play there when I was younger (I needed a fake ID to get in though).

amyc / June 1, 2006 8:25 AM

Alas, the Rainbo Roller Rink. My favorite night there was the Ladyfest Midwest fundraiser -- they showed Xanadu, then had open skate 'til midnight. Good times. The developers tore it down in a mad rush four years ago, but still haven't done anything on that spot. What a waste.

Oketo / June 1, 2006 8:30 AM

Get Me High lounge

Joe / June 1, 2006 8:32 AM

I second the Lakeview Lounge.

Paula / June 1, 2006 8:37 AM

hey prindt dude and vit - sounds like we were hitting alot of shows around the same era - I was at that Frankie show too - remember when they came back the next time the had shirts that said 'Frankie Sank the Birmarck'? I saw the Cure and Echo there too. I also loved Lounge Ax, Dreamerz, and the Avalon and I sport a chenille CABARET Metro patch on a jacket. I used to go to Batteries Not Included when Jim Ellison from Material Issue was doing the booking, and I can remember far back enough when Sue Miller (later one of the owners of Lounge Ax) did the booking at the Cubby Bear and it was actually a decent place to go see a show. Man I feel old now - almost as old as when I see a kid with a Dead Kennedys t-shirt and I think about the time I saw them on Halloween and caught a copy of their 'Halloween' 7" - I think they played in some venue off the Irving Park Red Line stop but I can't remember which one - printdude or vit does this ring a bell?

jennifer / June 1, 2006 8:39 AM

Lounge Ax and the previous incarnation of Tuman's.

Amy / June 1, 2006 8:41 AM

Now I feel old.



Tobermory / June 1, 2006 8:50 AM

gah - I had almost forgotten about Medusa's - although I was more familiar with the north suburban lame-o version, McGreevy's. Yes, old indeed, but not old enough to have gome to either Tut's or Club 950. I remember reading listings for bands playing at Tut's and wishing I could go, but I was too young for a fake ID to work.

vit / June 1, 2006 8:57 AM

Oh yes, and of course Medusa's. Regarding Cubby Bear ... would anyone believe that I once saw 7 Seconds play there, really ... and Paula, we probably did see each other around during that era, although I was a 16 year old south-suburban punk rock chick at the time.

Y A J / June 1, 2006 9:16 AM

It was a conversation lamenting the loss of the Rainbo Rink that prompted this question! I remember a Fugazi & Shellac show there, seemed like everyone I knew was there. Then I started thinking about the demise of all the places we used to go, like the Lounge Axe and Avalon.

Guess the GB old-timers are coming out for this question. And sounds like many of us were all at the same clubs & shows – go figure.

If I had to pick just one place I miss the most, it would be the Dome Room – I loved that circular dance floor.

Jake / June 1, 2006 9:19 AM

The Augenblick. It was the first bar I'd ever been to that had both Rogue and Pabst on tap, my two favorite beers (at the time).

Blagg the Axman / June 1, 2006 9:27 AM

One of the last times an axman remembers laughing full in the belly was in the hall of King Mandrake, at the capers and follies of the good King’s jesters. It was a happier, simpler time when smiles came easy and an axe’s blade had nary a pockmark. Now Mandrake’s kingdom lies in ruins—another land fallen under sway of the Dark Lord Kayne and his treacherous ilk. And these days an axman laughs seldom indeed.

metal dude / June 1, 2006 9:49 AM

Never my favorite place, but I do have a lot of fond memories of the Thirsty Whale.

printdude / June 1, 2006 9:55 AM

Paula - I din't see the DKs show and I dunno where up north they played - but I did see Jello at Club 950 some years back.

And Medusa's! How could I forget all them damn ska shows, back when all the boys wore our suits and skanked all night.

Good times.

I never saw Y A J at the dome room, neither, but I have heard stories....

p / June 1, 2006 9:58 AM

Checkerboard Lounge. Thursdays with Vance were always something special.

And Andrew I too am a proud member of the Comiskey brick club. My brick has white paint on one side (an outer brick) which tells me it's priceless. Quality memory of scurrying my young self under the fence held up by drunkards and sliding out bunches of them out to the gleeful masses. Then Pops put a stop to me and the random drunk adults' excavations. Man that brick was my Precioussssss back then. Good times in that park.

jennifer / June 1, 2006 9:59 AM

oh, man. Club 950. I forgot about that place! I was there every Thursday for 80s night for a very long stretch of time.

veronica / June 1, 2006 10:14 AM

There was The Candlelight dinner theater with a big round stage and balconies of people in a circle around and above them. Great food with big fun musicals, and I flirted for the very first time and it was in front of my family when I was ordering food from the waiter! I had just gotten contacts after years of big clunky glasses that ate my face. Those suckers too 2 hours to get into my eye that night, but I have some great family memories from that theater.

Also, I don't think this counts, but so what- Oak Lawn Roller Rink was torn down and my cousins were 13 and protested on the last night by sitting on the floor with 200 other teenagers. A very noble try, I would call it!

Emerson Dameron / June 1, 2006 10:35 AM

Pizza Lounge. You slept on it, people.

jp / June 1, 2006 10:36 AM

For Chicagoans-by-way-Madison (or Chicagoans who would make the trip north): I miss O'Cayz Corral.

fluffy / June 1, 2006 10:39 AM

the old checkerboard lounge, lakeview lounge, lounge ax, thurston's, the old old blue note (they've moved several times) and it was more 'bar' than 'venue' but there was a lot of 'entertainment' - the augenblick.

i, anon / June 1, 2006 10:40 AM

This all is making me wistful.

Damn straight, Hiawatha/Pizza Lounge. WTFF.

NSH / June 1, 2006 11:13 AM

PJ Flaherty's in EP
Saw some greats there, Enuff Z'nuff, Stevie Starlight, and of course Johnny B

Sixto Lescano / June 1, 2006 11:17 AM

slot car racing tracks and pinball games (I remember a "Playboy" game and a "Tommy" game themed after the Who's movie) at Tom Thumb hobby shop in Evanston.

sixto again / June 1, 2006 11:18 AM

Technically, Tom Thumb still exists, but the slot cars and pinball games are long, long gone.

Andy / June 1, 2006 11:22 AM

I second Club 950. I used to go there on Thursday's as well. I was actually there recently, at whatever crap Lincoln Park bar/pub now exists in that building, and it was weird. Even though the inside had been completely rehabbed, the pole that used to sit in the middle of the dancefloor was still there and I could still see the old layout in my head.

I also second (or third or fourth) Lounge Axe. I believe the last show I saw there was the Smoking Popes. Sarge was the opening band. Good times.

Annie / June 1, 2006 11:38 AM

Lounge Ax. Heck yeah.

Also Mable's & the Blind Pig down in Chambana, although I understand the Pig has been reincarnated.

MikeH / June 1, 2006 11:39 AM

Talk about a stroll down memory lane...

I miss Poplar Creek--one of the first shows I ever saw there was Iron Maiden and Accept. I never did make it to The Thirsty Whale...

I grew up in the near north Suburbs, so I often went to McGreevy's (never made it to Medusa's though)...

I also saw Fugazi at the Rainbo Rink...

And I had a birthday party at Tom Thumb's in the slot car racing room when I was but a wee lad...

Andy / June 1, 2006 11:41 AM

Was Mabel's the one on Green street?

Josh / June 1, 2006 11:47 AM

Yes, Rainbo Roller Rink. A staple of young life in Uptown. The coolest kid was the one who'd have a birthday party there. I can remember walking in from the bright sunlight into the dark disco lights. Ahhh, the memories.

steven / June 1, 2006 11:53 AM

Medusa's was cool, but I didn't go often enough to miss it, livin' in the burbs and all. I do miss Dome Room though.

emdub / June 1, 2006 11:56 AM

The OLD wicker park scene: I went to Dreamerz a few times before it closed, Urbis Orbis, Milk of Burgundy, Czar Bar, the old Hothouse in the flatiron, the Bop Shop...basically wherever the Flying Luttenbachers played.

Dunl / June 1, 2006 12:03 PM

Definitely Lounge Ax.

And the old Checkerboard.

Flynn / June 1, 2006 12:05 PM

950 was great. Did anyone else have the misfortune of going to the reborn 950 on Lawrence that was inside of a Medeval Times-like place? What was all that about?

I wistfully remember Medusa's every time I ride by on the L. They also tried a brief reincarnation in the Congress on Milwaukee.

And I caught Miranda Sex Garden near the end of Avalon's life.

Ah, Poplar Creek. Who else was at the Sugarcubes/PIL/New Order show in '89?

Stephen / June 1, 2006 12:11 PM

Definitely the Lounge Ax :-(

Also, I would say the Fireside Bowl (however disgusting and awful a place it may have been / is)... but I'm never quite sure if it has closed for good, or not!

Tom / June 1, 2006 12:12 PM

Anyone remember the Oak Theater? I saw Fugazi there. I don't remember much, but the venue was cool.

MikeH / June 1, 2006 12:15 PM

Does anyone remember NRG? Best drink deal ever--$25 cover and then all drinks were a quarter apiece for the entire evening...

Rob / June 1, 2006 12:22 PM

Okay, it still exists, but here's one: I miss Soldier Field BEFORE they turned it into a giant fucking spaceship!

JT / June 1, 2006 12:43 PM

Oh, this is bringing back a lot of memories! I loved Lounge Ax, remember getting fake-ID'd into The West End (following ska shows with Italian Ice from down the block), and lawn shows at Poplar Creek. When Peter Gabriel came in *mumble*eighty-*mumble, he opened with "Red Rain" from whatever album that was, and it started to thunderstorm at that very moment. The stoned fans were hysterical, yelling "Gabriel is G-d!"

Oh, and yes - Mabel's was upstairs on Green Street. I saw my share of fun shows in that black box, too.

wiping nostalgic tears from the eyes / June 1, 2006 12:45 PM

The Fireside (one of my faves as well) is still open--or has re-opened, I guess--but I don't think they have bands there anymore. But never fear! According to their website, they ARE available for office parties.

vit / June 1, 2006 12:50 PM

Flynn -- oh yes, I sadly darkened the door of the 'new' 950 as I lived only about a block away from it when it opened. I went once, and once only. I closed the old 950 down on my 21st birthday, and then stumbled to Neo to close that down .... 13 years ago.

Andrew / June 1, 2006 12:58 PM

Oh man, I forgot about Augenblick. Good times.

I also have good memories of the shortlived Benedict's, just south of Irving on Lincoln. It was my living room for a year.

karczek / June 1, 2006 12:59 PM

Definitely 950. Since I spent the most time there, I have more great memories of it than anyplace else.

I'll always lament the loss of Lounge Ax as it was the site of my first ever rock show.

Similarly Medusa's was the first 'club' I ever went to, so I'll always remember it fondly for that reason.

One other place I have to mention is the old Hyde Park Theater, where I saw many, mostly crappy, movies as a teenager. Technically, I think it's still there but not open for business. And, even though they sucked even by 80's stadards, my friends and I also saw quite a few films at the old Water Tower Theaters back in the day.

Lastly, I can't remember the names, but when I first moved to Chicago in the mid 80s, I remember there was still some fun to be had at the arcades in the loop. I just wish I'd been able to catch some flicks at the old movie theatres down there.

pete / June 1, 2006 1:06 PM

lounge ax was a little before my time, so i'll have to go with the fireside bowl as well. admittedly, i can't even go past it without getting a little bit pissed off that it is no longer a legitimate venue.

Y A J / June 1, 2006 1:12 PM

Karczek reminds me that I really, really miss the old Fine Arts theater on Michigan Ave.

And I miss the symphony in Grant Park. Millenium Park is lovely, but I could bring my dog and frisbee to Grant Park and play in the back of the lawn. Dogs and frisbees are not allowed in the Ghery tinker toy set up.

I'm with y'all on 950.

charlie D / June 1, 2006 1:44 PM

I echo the Fugazi show at the OAk Also Chicagofest at the old Navy Pier under the leadership of Jane Byrne. Now that was a party.

Ok......Cubby Bear of old. Metro when it first opened and Gaspars which is now Shubas.

Tobermory / June 1, 2006 1:59 PM

Oh my god - Gaspars! That was the first bar I used my fake ID to get into (to see Bloodsport and, I think, the Effigies)!! I had my (much) older brother's ex-girlfriend's IL driver's license so it looked totally legit (if you squinted at me and tried to imagine me as being 7 years older than I was).

Now here's a stretch - Club Stodola way west in the Polish section on Belmont Ave. It was an old-guy Polish bar by day and a venue for local bands by night. I always suspected the owner's son came up with the bright idea to staple up some camoflage netting and hire bands like The Slugs and Green to play.

van moxie / June 1, 2006 2:14 PM

I went to the 7 Seconds show at Cubby Bear, too! The last time I was at Lounge Ax was not long before they closed. I also remember Poplar Creek well, I saw Power Station there, and years later, P.I.L. and the Sugarcubes. And of course, Medusa's on Friday nights (I saw some ska band there as well, maybe the Toasters in about 1990). We'd always stop at Fleet's on Belmont and get those disgusting fries. Fleet's always associated in my mind with the product of the same name, as their food often had a similar effect on most people I knew. And we'd walk by Leona's making fun of the "yuppies" eating in there, because that was a fancy restaurant to us at the time, as high school kids.

And in the South Suburbs there was a tiny place in Steger or someplace like that called "G & S Fun & Games." Johnny Vomit used to play there a lot, and I was always there to see it. I'm so lame now.

printdude / June 1, 2006 2:25 PM

Tom 12:12 - I remember the Oak theatre - I worked a few shows there and had all access to all the weird holes in that place - it was a quite fantastic space, but highly underused. Now occupied by a McBank space, Western & Armitage.

paul / June 1, 2006 2:25 PM

To me, Medusa's always felt like either a teeny bopper club, or worse, a pedophile hangout.

And to further date myself, I went to 950 when they played 80's music every night, in other words, in the 80's. I used to go to the Avalon too, but it was so long ago that I don't remember why.

I too have a Comiskey brick, which I picked up cause I was working for the demolition company at the time.

Nobody here misses the old Chicago Stadium? The anthems before Blackhawk games were awe-insipringly deafening.

While it's out of town and not quite gone yet, it's inevitable that we'll soon be having a moment of silence for CBGB's.

Marilyn / June 1, 2006 2:29 PM

I'm going WAY back with my favorite lost venue--The Quiet Knight on Belmont just west of the El tracks. It was called Tut's for a while. I don't know what it is now.

Another place that's gone except for its marquee (which must be frozen in time for a good 20 years now, but nobody has taken it down) is Biddy Mulligan's on Sheridan Road and Rogers in Rogers Park. The blues were never better for me than at Biddy's.

I also liked Club 950 (though we called it The Lucky Number) and the very short-lived punk club--the first in Chicago--La Mere Vipere on Broadway in Edgewater.

Happy to say that though I've visited it in four different locations, The Jazz Showcase lives on in great style. Vive Joe Segal.

bean / June 1, 2006 2:30 PM

I can't believe that no oe has mentioned the original Exit on Wells. The Einsturzende Neubauten show there has long been in my list of top performances. They literaly set the stage on fire FGS!
Similarly Psychic TV at 950 was a brain destroyer/memory maker...

m / June 1, 2006 2:34 PM

FYI, Dave, who owned Augenblick, and his wife Donna now own the Edgewater Lounge, which you may know already. It's a bar at Bryn Mawr and Ashland. The food's good. Rogue and Bells is on tap. The back room is smoke free until 9. They have patio seating. On Tuesdays, REO Chuckwagon plays bluegrass.

bryan / June 1, 2006 2:38 PM

Lots of good ones have come and gone, and lots have been mentioned, but if you're talking about live entertainment (not sports venues or bars) how can anyone argue with Lounge Ax? Lounge Ax was God's gift to Chicago and that f--knut who got it shut down will be punished in hell.

Fireside was great, too, but still a distant second.

I was at that Fugazi show at the Oak (w/Arcwelder, right before it closed, circa 1993?)... I remember Ian yelling at fans, one lightbulb lighting up the stage, and the whole left channel of the PA not working. Not a terrible show, but not one of their best, ha.

karczek / June 1, 2006 3:02 PM

How did I forget the Fine Arts?!

I attended my first Chicago International Film Festival and many of the other foreign/indie films that were being released in the early through mid 90s screened there.

Before the Landmark at the Century and the Century Evanston, it was the best theater in the city for films that couldn't fit in at the Music Box, but had more fanfare than the offerings at the Art Institute or Facets.

Vanessa / June 1, 2006 3:07 PM

The Thirsty Whale. Who remembers this spot in Melrose Park? I was only 117 when they closed it, but I still miss it.

Oh and definitely the Fireside as a place to go see crappy punk bands.

Vanessa / June 1, 2006 3:07 PM

I meant 17, not 117. Whoops.

Y A J / June 1, 2006 3:15 PM

Didn't the Quite Knight become Avalon?

sparkychicago / June 1, 2006 3:21 PM

speaking of augenblick, any truth to the rumor that liz phair's "polyester bride" bartender friend worked there?

and to this day, i still call it cabaret metro. and remember seeing skinny puppy there. and later in life ending up in a kitchen with them at some party thinking "i paid money to see you guys, now we're drinking labatt's?"

printdude / June 1, 2006 3:25 PM

Yes, dear YAJ, the Quiet Night became Something else, then the Avalon, then the Milos Hair Studio.

Steve / June 1, 2006 3:28 PM

Ah, Poplar Creek. Who else was at the Sugarcubes/PIL/New Order show in '89?

Third! Hey Leelah, weren't you there as well? Of course, the truly cool/aged caught them there a few years earlier with Echo & the Bunnymen (a show I wasn't at, having been carless and Echo-hatin' back then).

Props to the Fine Arts. The balcony was oft-closed, but rarely empty. Seeing Sid & Nancy there was a high school highlight. Weird that back then, when the events portrayed therein were 10 years past, it seemd so long ago. Now it's all 30 down, but seems no further back .(At least until you see a contemporary pic of John Lydon!)

printdude / June 1, 2006 3:49 PM

Another Entertainment Venue I really miss is the Giant UA theatre on Dearborn/Randolph. Dark, stinky, and sticky, but the movies during the day were cheap as hell and the crowd was as diverse as any I can ever remember.

Dollar Bill / June 1, 2006 3:53 PM

Hey now, let's not forget OldChicago!
Where the "Turn of the Century" showed up before it made its way to Great America.
I swear I believed someone could have thrown up on the ceiling of that place.

Some great rides.

Marilyn / June 1, 2006 4:14 PM

Thanks for reminding me of all the incarnations of the Quiet Knight, with a "K". There was a suit of armor in a giant picture frame at the back of the small stage. That was the Quiet Knight.

Marilyn / June 1, 2006 4:18 PM

I actually miss the Nortown Theatre on Western and Devon. It had the stars in the ceiling, just like the Music Box does. It was a nice theatre. At least it's still standing. The Granada, near the Loyola North Shore Campus, is long gone, as is Huey's, where I saw six-fingered Hound Dog Taylor drink long talls of whiskey and sing the blues.

I agree about the Fine Arts Theatre, which was the Studebaker Theatre at one time (a legitimate stage theatre), and the Oak.

Maggie / June 1, 2006 4:22 PM

Sally's Stage and Rainbo were theee places to have your birthday party in the 80s (on the north side at least) - I was never so lucky but got to attend a bunch.
Sadly, both are gone now.

dbs / June 1, 2006 4:40 PM

the show booking at the lounge ax was unparalleled. the sound mix was excellent but it was often WAY too loud (and i like loud shows) when the house was not full.

i don't miss it all that much because they way oversold shows, to the point that getting to the bathroom was virtually impossible, and because the staff wasn't particularly friendly. to me it added up to being inconsiderate.

i do get wistful about the old west end though; with sue miller's great booking abilities, but without the annoyances of the lounge ax.

spook / June 1, 2006 5:26 PM

Hey Emerson Dameron!

RIP Pizza Lunge aka package goods, I never slept on her or the Bakelite 78 Band, I can hear them- in my head- playing a dirge to mark her passing after 100 years! And the Women of Feed say the new bar will have a “yuppies only sign”


If you know any one from Bakelite 78 tell them to consider finding a new roost at Hottie Biscotti in Logan Square while not quite the dive as Packaged Goods its still a Dive and the music would be an improvement over the rest of the flotsam and jetsam that “play” there

d4v3 / June 1, 2006 5:33 PM

i broke some dance at RainBo roller rink though i never went often.
i cut my teeth at Medusa's and i miss it terribly. All other incarnations never were the same.
i did go to 950 on Lawrence and yes that was very weird. Do miss the old loc.
Ambience and garden of Dreamerz.
Martini's at Artful Dodger.
I'm SO glad Smartbar has survived well all these years.
i know im forgetting a whole bunch...lemme sleep on it.

spook / June 1, 2006 5:34 PM

Old Chicago!
OMG Dollar Bill!!!!
That place was terrifying! And not could some one trow up on the ceiling, a roller coaster and its human cargo sailed right out the glass roof once into the parking lot, or was that urban legend, between the inner city gang bangers and the white trash townies, that place was the pits, course maybe if they had sold alchole, it would have had its charm.

Course if you wanna go way back, what about Ronnie’s (See Your Meat) Stake House on Randolph Street that serviced Old Style upstairs with a strange disco downstairs! And of course across on State Street was the Wood’s Theater!

JK / June 1, 2006 5:36 PM

Great Beer palace on Lincoln.

oldtimer / June 1, 2006 5:38 PM

How about Biddy Mulligan's. I remember going to see Big Twist & the Mellow Fellow there it was great.

fluffy / June 1, 2006 5:38 PM

bean said:
I can't believe that no oe has mentioned the original Exit on Wells. The Einsturzende Neubauten show there has long been in my list of top performances. They literaly set the stage on fire FGS!
Similarly Psychic TV at 950 was a brain destroyer/memory maker...

Now I really wish I lived in Chicago back then. Speaking of Skinny Puppy, back when they were good, saw them where I was in the 80's- Dallas,Tx. Got asked out by the singer even. Not that it matters, but damn, Deep Ellum in Dallas back then was the shit- all empty warehouses, which came alive at night. so much energy. Back in 84, Sonic Youth played to a room of maybe 12 people. I smoked my first clove cigarrette. But now, that whole area is pathetic- neon lights, limousines, yuck. That's why Chicago is so much better, even though it is sad to read everyone's stories of the good old times....

DougMac / June 1, 2006 5:43 PM

Lakeview Links bit the dust in 2006. The entire structure was leveled at Belmont and Wilton in order to build more high rise condominiums. Nothing could save this ideal location from developers... All the best cover bands and local college bands would preform. This weekend I'll be missing it when I am at the Belmont / Sheffield musicfest... RIP

metaldude / June 1, 2006 5:47 PM

McGregor's? I believe. Old punk venue in the west suburbs somewhere...anyone anyone?

MikeH / June 1, 2006 6:13 PM

Anyone remember The Ground Round (with the floor covered in peanut shells)? That was a big destination for childhood birthday parties also...

Evan / June 1, 2006 8:20 PM

Chuck E. Cheese was better when it was ShowBiz Pizza.

I also miss Leaps & Bounds and Discovery Zone ("DZ").

donna / June 1, 2006 9:35 PM

correct me if i'm wrong, but i thought lakeview links had to go to make way for the brown line expansions..

...and not a thursday goes by when i don't mourn the closing of club 950 on wrightwood.

i also miss the busy bee. sitting at the counter there with a bowl full of pierogis counts as an entertainment venue in my world.

vit / June 1, 2006 10:55 PM

van moxie - ha! I seem to remember that place to. Did anywhere here ever dance at Off the Alley?

vit / June 1, 2006 10:57 PM

too, damnit too....

I do know the difference.

Carlotta / June 1, 2006 11:05 PM

Earl of Old Town, on Wells Street just north of North Ave.

La Mere Vipere, anyone?

Leelah / June 2, 2006 7:43 AM

I have to agree with
--Lounge Ax (even though in the summer it got so unspeakably smokey that I often had to go stand outside while my eyes watered uncontrollably)
--Medusa's (though I wouldn't go there now, obviously!)
--Poplar Creek (where I met Depeche Mode... 20 years ago on June 22nd!)

And nobody has mentioned the Wrigleyville Tap. Shame on us all!

(Steve-- I was not at New Order at Poplar Creek... I spent that summer in San Francisco!)

sparkychicago / June 2, 2006 9:08 AM

Depeche Mode! Poplar Creek! OMD opened! 20 May 1988!

The same day Laurie Dann went on her shooting rampage in Winnetka.

Andy / June 2, 2006 9:12 AM

I second the Artful Dodger. I can't say it was one of my favorite places, but I did spend several memorable nights there and I remember it fondly. It's absolutely insane that they tore that building down. RIP.

Alex / June 2, 2006 10:00 AM

The original Medusas! Oh goodness, gracious that takes me back...


Also, Club Naked and having coffee at the long gone Green Street Cafe -- it was entertainment to me.

Alex / June 2, 2006 10:08 AM

O.K. Reading everyone's comments is totally making me misty-eyed.

The OLD wicker park scene: I went to Dreamerz a few times before it closed, Urbis Orbis

Urbis Orbis! Sheesh, that takes me back. Now that's when Wicker Park kicked ass.

The person who mentioned Old Chicago. HELL YEAH! I remember the drive to Bolingbrook seemed eternal. I was about 5 at the time, but my sisters were teenagers and we would go for the Disco parties they would have. I would be watching them dance and everyone was jamming.

Did anyone ever go to the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, in Old Town, when you were a kid? That place used to freak me out as a kid.

Onid / June 2, 2006 10:11 AM

I remember Biddy Mulligans!! I also remember Medusas!! I was at that Depeche Mode show on May 20 1988!! Damn I feel old now!!

AnnieWho / June 2, 2006 10:18 AM

I discovered Punk Rock at Club COD (Come on Down) at Devon and Broadway. I think there was one night when Husker Du, Naked Raygun, the Effigies and Rights of the Accused played on the same show.

Also, there were the great hall shows organized by someone from Articles of Faith I think ... at the Centro American Social Club at Irving and Broadway. Saw lots of greats there too.

Finally, Steve Albini used to do some good shows at Links Hall.

But the West End was the best club in America, I'm convinced. Great all-ages shows every Sunday that fed me all the angst-ridden punk rock an outcast teen could ever need.

slugbass / June 2, 2006 10:30 AM

The West End ROCKED! Spent many hours on that stage. Somewhere I still have the "End of the End" tee-shirt that Sue Miller had made. All the bands that played there are printed on it. It's a who's who of bands. The Replacements, Husker name em', they played there. A good friend/bandmate has the dressing room door in his possesion.

Robert / June 2, 2006 10:48 AM

I used to like the Beehive on 55th Street fifty years ago.

Liza / June 2, 2006 12:16 PM

Vit- I went to Off the Alley quite a bit. Heh. But in terms of suburban teen clubs, it's Jublilation that I miss! Wow, I'm a dork.

As for adult places, I'll second the person above who mentioned the original Tuman's. God, how the might have fallen!

dan / June 2, 2006 1:10 PM

Anybody remember Urbis Orbis? I only went a couple of times before it closed, but I liked it alright.

van moxie / June 2, 2006 1:39 PM

Ah, Liza! Of course Jubilation. It was in my hometown, you know. It's a Thrift store now, I think. For awhile it was a social security office. And of course I went to Off the Alley. I even performed there once, if I remember correctly.

Bill / June 2, 2006 1:54 PM

ah, the augenblick. i loved that place too. i also miss the great beer palace.

Megan / June 2, 2006 1:55 PM

I had my 4th b-day party at Old Chicago. I remember it being fun... but then, I was 4. The roller coaster disaster that someone alluded to happened in a movie.

Amy / June 2, 2006 1:55 PM

Rock on South Suburbs.

I don't know if Record Swap (the owners of OTA) is considered entertainment, but they managed to take my money every week in High School.

My sister's 13th b-day was at O.T.A.

However - the manager of Swap owns Laurie's Planet of Sound in Lincoln Square. You cannot comprehend the double take I did when I walked in there.

I swear Homewood follows you everywhere.

Bill / June 2, 2006 1:57 PM

dan, i very much remember urbis orbis! cant believe i forgot it. i performed in a play in wicker park when i was a high school freshman, and uo was right down the street from the theater. wicker park was still a somewhat scary place different from the yupster hq it is now. anyway, my parents took me to uo after one of my performances, and we sat around drinking coffee and eating scones together. it felt so cool, so urban and hip yet familial... its one of my favorite memories of them.

Bill / June 2, 2006 2:02 PM

ok, maybe i should read the thread before i comment, but.. ground round, yes! where was that? it seemed like such a long drive when i was a kid. there was also a bbq joint called bones someone near skokie, i believe. i liked that place, too. now who wants to start reminiscing about the wisconsin dells? tommy bartlett's robot world, anyone?

Megan / June 2, 2006 2:12 PM

Mabel's... I didn't know it was gone! I nearly passed out/died from heat exhaustion at a Wilco show there. If there were capacity limits, I don't think they were obeyed, and there were certainly no windows for ventilation. ah, the memories of nearly dying.

Steve / June 2, 2006 2:32 PM

Where's the love for the Jekyll and Hyde Club?

Dumbest concept restaurant EVER. But apparently, the Times Square location is still somehow open.

dino / June 2, 2006 3:30 PM

Ditto on Rainbo (Plugg City, Rhymefest's new mix CD, has a great song dedicated to it), old Sox Park (always liked it better than Wrigley even though I'm a Cub fan), and the Stadium.

Fresh vote for the original Dennis's Place for Games up on Clark, which sucked for the last 10 years of its existence but which I loved in the late 80s/ early 90s, and recently shut down.

jp / June 2, 2006 3:48 PM

Bill: There was a Ground Round on the corner of Bloomingdale and Army Trail roads in Glendale Hts.

slugbass / June 2, 2006 4:03 PM

Bill: There was also a Ground Round on Dempster & Waukegan in Morton Grove, very close to the Par King miniature golf course.

Leelah / June 2, 2006 5:15 PM

oops! I did see Depeche Mode on June 22, 1986, but I didn't meet them until the May 20, 1988 show!

hench / June 2, 2006 6:34 PM


i miss treno's. also record swap, mabel's, record service, village green records, deluxe billiards...


slow down life's too short. prodigal son on halsted.

wasn't there a very brief incarnation of medusa's down in west loop? am i just imagining that?

vit / June 2, 2006 7:15 PM

Amy -- I noticed that too. I spent so much money and hung out so much at record swap when I was a kid I was recognized and we had a good laugh.

Liza -- oh yes, how could I forget Jubilation in the lovely Chicago Heights (my birthplace). I loved that place too.

karczek / June 2, 2006 8:35 PM

dino - Pity I never was able to visit the Clark Street Dennis' Place for Games during it's heyday.

The only time I walked in, my friend that lived in the area had taken to calling it "Dennis' Place for Gangs". It seemed like a pretty apt title too.

I wonder how much longer the Belmont Dennis' will be around. That's one place from which I've got a LOT of memories.

Fred / June 3, 2006 11:26 AM

long ago at Clark & Lawrence...the Electric Theater/ Kinetic Playground

amyc / June 5, 2006 8:53 AM

A couple more I remembered this weekend: Paris Dance on Montrose, which used to have a kick-ass women's dance party after the Pride Parade every year. It was torn down for condos in 1998 or so, and the party moved to Girlbar (also gone now and much missed).

curtsy / June 14, 2006 11:55 AM

The Del Morroco (at the NW corner of Lake & Halsted) with the dancing couple balancing on the rim of a cocktail glass was the reddest room imaginable.

At the old Greyhound station (NE corner of Clark and Randolph) tucked away behind the escalator, the Loop's cheapest beer could be quietly enjoyed among fellow travelers.

Ronnie's Steakhouse WAS NOT across the street from the Woods theatre. Ronnie's (near State) was a block east of the Woods (near Dearborn), both on the north side of Randolph.

The West End was fine little joint in its day, but BEST ROCK CLUB IN AMERICA?? Nostalgia does fog the mind.

I'm a little surprised that no one referenced Batteries Not Included on Clybourn (before the over-nite gentrification/transformation of that strip.) I recall the Chesterfield Kings and Precious Wax Drippings on stage.

Yes, the Oak Theatre, where I once saw Todd Rundgren perform (which was a time warp in itself) and where I spun vinyl at an Art Institute Halloween party that the Flying Luttenbachers played.

What of Lower Links? I recall Algebra Suicide and Eugene Chadbourne on the stage there. I also played dj there on an infamous August evening back in '91 when my girlfriend, who was staring in her first solo cabaret show, dumped my sorry ass.

Where is the Bluebird??

john / June 29, 2006 10:02 PM

miss ronnies roller rink loads they was good day with big ron down aston

Perry / July 6, 2006 8:46 PM

I once had the chance to go into the Quiet Knights pub on Belmont after the Rolling Stones played after their concerts Some Girls in 1978. Yes i was in vited by the daughter of Willy Dixon , Who said his daughter would pas me through the door past the doorman! I was 19 yearsof age and she said i could take a freind with so i asked Woody my neighbor . She asked our names and I said I am Perry and my buddy Woody so ...Voila 1 hour with Keith and Muddy Waters in the backroom of the Quiet Knights on Belmont ...I've also visited the Exit on Wells !!!Thirsty Whale!!!and Poplar Creek!!! To Vanessa, Bean ,Marylin If you need a pen pal Write Me I am in France now ...And been published on!!!

Perry / July 6, 2006 9:13 PM

I would like to correct my last comment and maybe not it was the daughter of Muddy Waters ,,, Rosalind and wow i just found out she was busted for !!!

Mark / July 18, 2006 7:34 PM

I used to skate at the Oak Lawn Roller Rink in the late 70's and early 80's when I was a teenager. These were some of the sweetest memories of my life. About 2/3 of the girls that I dated came from that roller rink, which is now a Saturn dealership. Sometimes I think I would give up 1/2 of my stock portfolio just to be a teenage boy on a Saturday night just one last time.

Mark / July 18, 2006 7:34 PM

I used to skate at the Oak Lawn Roller Rink in the late 70's and early 80's when I was a teenager. These were some of the sweetest memories of my life. About 2/3 of the girls that I dated came from that roller rink, which is now a Saturn dealership. Sometimes I think I would give up 1/2 of my stock portfolio just to be a teenage boy on a Saturday night just one last time.

Maria / September 19, 2006 12:11 PM

I was an Oak Lawn Rink Rat FOREVER! Still look to see who's in the lot every time I drive past. (sigh) Miss those days.

Laura / November 3, 2006 4:04 PM

Mark, I'm with you on the Oak Lawn. I bet we skated on the same days (always Sunday afternoons). I miss that rink so much. The last time I was there I was 27 and it was a blast.
I also miss Medusas and Old Chicago. Anyone remember PlayLand near Archer? Not that I miss it, just remember it.

Andrea / December 3, 2006 3:17 PM

Medusas was the BEST music EVER! There has not been a place like it since. 950 played great music,but you cannot ever recapture the architicture and multiple rooms for the "multiple" personalities at Medusas

cat / December 3, 2006 10:02 PM

CLUB 950 - was fun with the solo hispanic guy dancing to 80's goth by himself.

meg / March 1, 2007 8:57 PM

Medusa's. By a landslide the absolute best. Went there religiously so long as I had seven bucks on Friday & Saturday night...and sometimes Wednesdays. I still remember scrounging for quarters to get that money and begging for ice cubes...and dancing for hours

Patrick / April 21, 2007 1:07 PM

The place that broke my soul when it closed was Dreamerz. Some places were great venues for simply becoming an object at, but Dreamerz was consistently the greatest place ever to see wild acts. Early Butts, Hope Sandoval when she musta been 16, Caroliner, Killdozer, Big Black, god, so many incredible shows, and those low ceilings just blew your eardrums out.

Zippy / April 24, 2007 11:54 AM

Orbit Room

Michael / August 9, 2007 11:53 AM

THE ORBIT ROOM-the sign itself was outstanding. In fact, I was an extra in Crime Story and I was the one the mentioned this sign to the costume designer. He told the production desinger and they added the sign to the opening credits. Pretty cool, huh?

Larry / August 17, 2007 8:13 AM

The Nortown is no longer. It is being demolished as I type this.

ed wagemann / December 16, 2007 8:57 AM

Centro American Social Club...

Bryon Pelzek / December 27, 2007 11:24 PM

Dennis's Place for Gaming on Belmont in Chicago!!!

Dude....I got off the Red Line ( I was on my way home) on 12-27-07 to play some games with my daughter...and guess what??? It was empty. We were totally bummed out that it looked closed for good. Very sad that places like this are closing up. These are places where kids can hang out without spending a ton of money, where they can compete against eachother in a healthy environment, and prevents kids from walking the streets "looking" for entertainment.

Take care Dennis. Belmont Street will miss you!!!

Bryon Pelzek

Marie / January 11, 2008 6:18 PM

I miss the old time punk clubs-- O'Banion's and OZ.

I'm glad Club Foot hosts the yearly O'Banion's Reunion in June. It's a good chance to re-connect with old friends...

J J / January 23, 2008 3:34 PM

OH man, let me throw a few out there that I don't think were mentioned in this thread so far:

Thurstons -- Man that spiral staircase was a killer. Were there two of them, or was that the alcohol?

Octagon -- Great dance floor, was replaced by some collegiate looking bar called Tin Lizzie.

The original Wax Trax Records on Lincoln Avenue -- very much the scene for alternative music in the 80s.

ChiTownBartender / February 9, 2008 9:41 PM

Yes, I do remember the Avalon, I saw so many great bands there, I remember when Izzy Stradlin and the Joo Joo Hounds played there.

That was the last time I was there.

Anyone remember a bar called "the Union" around the corner. oh, better yet, The Rockery! God, that was so long ago!

Christian / February 19, 2008 4:56 PM

Would anyone happen to know how to get in contact with the owner of Wrigleyville Tap, Jimmy Jones?

Or what would be a good way to track him down?

I'm his nephew, Christian.

I'm so shocked by how awesome the Wrigleyville Tap was. Do a search on Google, the bar lives on in people's memoirs!

Christian / February 19, 2008 5:05 PM

Please e-mail me at for information on contacting Jimmy Jones of Wrigleyville Tap. :)

Kami Cheatem / November 17, 2008 9:00 PM

My memories are so foggy...but does anyone remember the Dead Kennedys shows at Club COD& Metro? Or Bad Brains at COD? I have vivid memories of seeing HR do a massive back flip on the stage. I also remember seeing The Plasmatics at the Aragon (in '81??). And does anyone remember the short-lived punk club on Halsted near School street back in '90 or '91-- the G Spot?? Many free pitchers of beer were happily consumed. 'Sweaty Shawn' and Bob were awesome djs. So many memories.

Jay / February 10, 2009 11:59 AM

OMG! Where to start? Bluebird, Sweet Alice, Industry, pop's, quaker goes deaf, urbis orbis, iggy's, borderline, the original blue note, lounge ax, 950, red lion, red dog, SHELTER!, world tattoo, zoom kitchen, dispensa's kiddie kingdom, fireside bowl, dreamerz, MacGregor's, Medusa's, bedrock, avalon, get me high, artful dodger, zebra lounge, original EXIT, solo, goose island sandwich shop, kaboom, the love loft, BUSY BEE!, Czar Bar, batteries not included, 1800 mall, LEO'S FREAKIN' LUNCHROOM!, Jinx, Mitchell's on North Ave., the villiage theater, rainbo roller rink, duk's (just kidding), podolanka, huddle house, octagon, Monday's on Harrison, Step high lounge, harrison hotel snack shop, taco loco, fine arts theater, dupage theater, tecalitlan on Ashland, lava lounge (original), lot's for less, thread's on Milwaukee, city foods, bialy's, holiday on milwaukee, bop shop! Galaxy, orbit room, grizzly lounge...

Doctor raz / October 31, 2009 9:08 PM

Yo Mama's cafe on Milwaukee?
Original (canned beer only) get me high lounge?
The buddah bar on grand (pre-buddah lounge)?

dave / February 13, 2010 1:03 PM

1. Nervous Center on Lincoln
2. Scenes on Clark
3. the old, dark Smart Bar
4. Get Me High
5. Jury Room
6. Earl's Pub
7. Club 950
8. Lizard Lounge in Ukrainian Village
9. yeah, Medusa's
10. Gaspar's

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