On an otherwise quiet corner of Chicago's Ukranian Village neighborhood, a crowd of 20-somethings spills out onto the sidewalk to smoke and mingle. Like its hipster devotees, The Empty Bottle seems to never sleep. The club keeps late hours and hosts bands or DJs nearly every night, from local showcases to celebrated dance parties such as the Windy City Soul Club. Even in the coldest months, the overfill spills out onto the sidewalk, where crowds huddle together for warmth beneath a black awning that reads “MUSIC/FRIENDLY/DANCING.” Inside, past the pool table and pinball machine, is a doublewide space and a small stage lit by multi-colored lights. Decorated with years of musical and barfly ephemera, the bar sits beneath a tilted chalkboard that displays the daily drink specials and beer offerings. The club prides itself on cheap drinks and cheap admission prices—all the better for checking out local acts you may never have heard before. Don’t try to take advantage of the staff’s friendliness, however, lest they decide to show you how the severed door of a CPD car came to hang above the exit.
Herman's Hideaway has lured music lovers with an action-packed slate of performers for more than 25 years. Before the show, guests can chat up a bartender over a draft beer or vodka tonic. Instead of hosting an all-polka lineup, Herman's Hideaway dabbles in many musical genres, welcoming rock bands, jazz combos, and reggae collectives from nearby neighborhoods and far-flung nation-states. On August 22, MC Frontalot will use song to explain how nerdcore hip-hop emerged from a bizarre accident involving an apple, a candy factory, and an optometrist's office. Local math-metal quartet Seris will launch a tour from Herman's stage on August 27, and 13-piece funk band Funkiphino will spawn a dance party with soulful rhythms and come-hither nostril flares on September 9.
Broadway Music School is more than just a studio for music lessons; it’s a collaborative community where students meet to learn, appreciate, and enjoy music of all styles. Their vast roster of instructors covers almost any instrument imaginable, from guitar and piano to the more obscure, such as the euphonium, bagpipes, and taiko drums. The instructors are well versed in all styles classical and contemporary, allowing students to explore rare genres such as celtic violin, gypsy-jazz guitar, or flamenco guitar. They also lead lessons in subjects such as music theory, improvisation, ear training, composition, and song writing, allowing students to join ensembles once they learn how to play.
The chefs at Spanky's Roadhouse perform culinary gymnastics, flipping patties, tossing salads, shaking shakes, and teaching wings how to soar with flavor. Adventurous eaters can build their own burger out of beef ($8.95), buffalo ($10.95), or grilled chicken breast ($8.95), garnishing their meat choice with multifarious toppings ($0.75 each). Or, pad your uninsulated belly cabin with one of 12 signature burgers, such as the Spanky burger, which is assembled with jalapeno-jack cheese, bacon, guacamole, and onions sizzled to a saliva-worthy crisp ($9.95). The Breakfast burger keeps lonely buns company with bacon, cheddar, and a fried egg, and the Fat burger is crowned with a golden, beer-battered onion ring and slathered in barbecue sauce, bacon, and blue cheese. After dousing a burning burger desire before it spreads to nearby stomachs, guests can dig into one of three sliders, such as the piquant barbecue pulled pork ($7.95) or a dozen Roadhouse wings, which come in six flavors, including Chinese Hot, Atomic, and honey barbecue ($8.95).
When Kristian and Amy Geiger met back in 2000, they fell in love with each other and with wine. On their honeymoon a year later, the Geigers didn't go to a tropical island, or spend an all-inclusive weekend in court like many newlyweds. Instead, they set out on their first winery adventure in Virginia.
From that point forward, they planned nearly every vacation around visiting wineries, and began enrolling in wine-education classes. As time went on, the couple began to feel the nudge of an evolving dream: to own their own wine bar. That dream came true in 2013 with Cana Wine Bar. There, Kristian and Amy fill glasses with old- and new-world wines, beers, and high-end whiskeys. The wine bar itself lends a homey vibe in which to imbibe those spirits, complete with private lounge rooms.
From their beers to their entertainments, the owners of Renegade Publik House like to do things their own way. They brew their own craft beers, some of which—the imperial red IPA Scarlet Letter, for instance—can only be found at their bar. They pair their unique drafts with thin-crust, grilled pizzas that eschew traditional ingredients such as sauce in favor of combinations like the Baked Potato, a crust sporting a blend of crispy Yukon gold potatoes, pork belly, and chevre. They even refuse to hang a single television on their walls to distract from the social interaction within their pub. Instead, they entertain with a robust music selection and shelves full of once-banned books such as Farenheit 451, Clockwork Orange, and I Was in Reno When That Cherry Tree Was Felled: The Autobiography of George Washington.