Gapers Block has ceased publication.

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.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Tuesday, March 5

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


Andrew Huff / August 28, 2009 3:13 PM

Question suggested by Jennifer, who says, "The Neo anniversary got me thinking about my wild youth."

Got a question for fuel? Send it to

Ramsin / August 28, 2009 3:16 PM

The first club--not bar--I ever went to was when I was 18, I knew a bartender at a place called "Club Eden" that was on Clark Street just north of the El tracks north of Belmont.

It was weird. Headless mannequins and stuff. Now it's a Mexican restaurant I think.

Guy Smiley / August 28, 2009 3:31 PM

Wow...can't really remember the first bar/club. My sister took me, I was underage and I spent the whole time convinced that they were going to come for me any minute.

I think the first club was some disco-y joint called the Galaxy somewhere around Chicago Ave. and LaSalle on my 21st birthday. The first club I went to on my own was a reggae club called Cool Runnings. It's where the Smart Bar is now.

Jasmine / August 28, 2009 4:04 PM

The first club I ever visited (underage, natch) was the first Limelight, specifically the second anniversary of "Disco 2000", a club kid-crazy event for which I was totally underdressed. Also the first time I kissed someone -- I know I was a late bloomer but I didn't think it should have been with a middle-aged man wearing a propeller beanie.

daruma / August 28, 2009 4:11 PM

The first club I went to was for my 21st birthday - Crobar - and I'm amazed that it's still around! The last club I went to was Neo, probably one of the only clubs (if you can call it that) I go to anymore.

y a j / August 28, 2009 4:29 PM

I'm the Jen with the wild youth. First club ever was Limelight VIP room with my yuppie beau. Esoterica was the first club I ever had a member's card to, anyone else remember having an Eso card? Last club, a sad but hilarious attempt to go to Neo on my 40th birthday but my best friend forgot her ID so we couldn't get in. The irony of not getting into a club we were too old for and had danced at years before legal age did not escape me.

Guy Smiley / August 28, 2009 4:43 PM

Forgot about the second part of the question...what qualifies as a "club" now? I went to the 50/Fifty last year I think for a party with free booze. I left before 8 p.m. Does that count? But as far as a get-dressed-up-in-my-clubbing-clothes type club...sorry, the days of dressing up to go out just to drink are over. If I can't get in with my t-shirt, dirty jeans and gym shoes, I ain't going.

Andrew Huff / August 28, 2009 4:48 PM

I think my first was Kaboom, when I was 17 -- mind you, I was there to tape a scene for some Korean straight-to-video movie that a theatre buddy was the villain in. But we danced! So, yeah. After that... someplace in Columbus my freshman year at OSU, so that doesn't count. I guess Dome Room was it once I was back in Chicago.

I know I've been to one in the past year, but I couldn't tell you the name. I wasn't there of my own volition -- nightclubs aren't really my scene.

Baldeesh / August 28, 2009 5:12 PM

Off the Alley! We used to go on Thursdays - I don't know if it was officially called Goth Night, but that's how we referred to it. I was 16. Good times.

It has been a long time since I've been in a club... I think Exit was the last one I've been to. Or maybe it was Neo...

Dennis Fritz / August 28, 2009 5:14 PM

Medusa's, near Belmont and Sheffield. Long gone. Haven't been to a club in over a decade.

fluffy / August 28, 2009 5:53 PM

The Twilight Room in Dallas. If you didn't know it was there, you'd just think it was an abandoned warehouse. I saw Black Flag play there and was mesmerized.
Recently: I can't remember.

flange / August 28, 2009 9:18 PM

if we're talking exclusively dance clubs with djs, i've never been, have no interest. if we're talking clubs with live music, here in chicago my first and most recent experiences were both fitzgerald's.

i guess we're no longer talking exclusively dance clubs with djs. sorry.

snuh / August 28, 2009 10:11 PM

I think the first club I went to might have been Big Wig, where Evil Olive is now. Last one I tried to go to was The Hideout. "But The Hideout isn't a club!" I was there to dance to a DJ, I had to wait in a very long line, and the doorman had to turn us away or make us wait until others left. I even tried acting extra blond to get in. It's a club.

Someone else had mentioned having a membership card to get into a club, like Esoterica. My pal painted the town red many-a-night back in the late 70's-mid 80's, and he'd showed me his old membership card to Medusa's, or maybe whatever was there before Medusa's. When did this membership card thing die off? Does any nightclub still have that? I kinda think it should be brought back.

A. Lewellen / August 30, 2009 9:22 AM

First club, definitely Medusa's then a handful of others followed China Club, Lime Light, Crobar etc. by the time I turned 18 I was done with clubs. Haven't' been to one in decades and have no interest.

paul / August 30, 2009 11:37 AM

The Limelight (NY) was my first club too. I failed to get into Studio 54 even in its waning days.

In Chicago it was probably Medusa's, then Neo, and Club 950.

And just like yaj,my last attempt to get in to Neo, was at 35, without an ID. I even tried to bribe the door guy, but it didn't work.

Cinnamon / August 30, 2009 2:35 PM

The first club I went to was in Columbus, Ohio called The Garage, most often pronounced The GayRage. It was a great club. The last was probably Berlin and it's been a while. I'm more of a sit with a drink and talk to friends kinda gal.

leo / August 30, 2009 4:38 PM

Neo's, later on Metro/Smartbar. Bains-Douches in Paris and Jungle in Berlin.

annie / August 30, 2009 5:15 PM

China Club, and I am not kidding, I was 11. My "babysitter" took me!

Avatar_Mom / August 31, 2009 11:40 AM

My first nightclub experience was Medusa's on Sheffield and School. The different areas for different music interests kept me going back. Later I found my way to Exit, Neo, China Club,Club 950, and the Dome Room.

Cazadores / August 31, 2009 11:43 AM

1995: A woman I was dating wanted to go to Smart Bar. I preferred drinking over dancing and didn't get lucky that night.

Last year: this SAME woman came to town to visit and dragged me to some latin nightclub off North Avenue (it was a side street full of nightclubs). I wore a suit, I danced for a short while, I got lucky for once.

I've never thrived inside the culture of nightclubs, but it still fascinates me to this day.

pk / August 31, 2009 11:47 AM

first club in general was Planet Earth in knoxville, tn, which is about as revered by former patrons as neo is here. there are still reunions happening ten years later, and the owner recently died -- so that's history for you.

first chicago club was Cairo, on a visit in 1993, so i don't think it counts. i was desperate.

first chicago club i actually chose based on feedback was berlin, the day i moved here in 1994. went religiously for like nine years, and then decided i should probably give my liver a rest.

great club, but the only bar i've ever seen make vodka taste awful. what are they using there?

Anhalt / August 31, 2009 11:57 AM

Never had much interest in "clubs." I guess Neo or SmartBar would have been my first. But a forced trip to Soundbar would be the first (and last) experience with some cheesy megaclub.

printdude / August 31, 2009 1:46 PM

My first club was Medusa's too. We traveled far for ska nights in our skinny ties, hats and suits. Hell, I would still travel for a great ska night.
As for my last club - I dunno the name, but I do know that a round of shots for the crew took $90 from my cash fund. (It was a large crew). I still gotta go back and get my umbrella.
I still like shakin' my ass, what can I say?
The best club music I've heard in eons was at Lollapalooza in Perry's lounge where I danced for an hour and a half. That's what a club ought to be- outside, loud, sweaty, facelessly personal.

GB store

Recently on Fuel

Urban Ethos [26]
What is Chicago's "urban ethos"?

Cool Glass of... [16]
What're you drinking?

Supreme Decision [22]
What's your reaction to the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act?

Taking it to the Streets [20]
Chicago Street Fairs: Revolting or Awesome?

I Can Be Cruel [9]
Be real: what is the meanest thing you've ever done?

View the complete archive

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15