If Music Be The Food Of Love, Play On!

But I'm really too hungry for just one song. (from big name bands to local live music)
  • 4.0 étoiles

    The Cedar has a special place in my heart. My family has attended shows here since as long as I can remember. They always get the most random groups to come and I've enjoyed every show that I've been to.

    In the past six months I've been to the The Brave New Combo Chanukah concert, the Polka Christmas concert and recently saw Slavic Soul Party. Tickets are incredibly affordable and I love that you get a discount if you purchase in advance. They have always had enough room for large groups, which is good for the club that I help run at my university.

    They usually host a Nordic Roots celebration every year; however, I've heard they are looking into expanding it to Eastern Europe. I cannot wait. Everyone should support this jewel!

    I only have one complaint. I have yet to attend a concert where the doors are opened on time and the band starts when it should. The bands being late is somewhat understandable, but for the love of all that is holy, OPEN THE DOORS  ON TIME WHEN IT'S BELOW 32 DEGREES!

  • 4.0 étoiles

    "What a cool, bombed out old building!" That's how my friend described seeing it for the first time. OK, so it's not really bombed out. But it has a certain shell-shocked effect. I'm a huge fan. I've never been in a venue quite like it.

    We came to see Electric Six play. It was a good time. The tickets weren't too expensive, but the handling fee kind of hurt. They tried to get us to buy parking in advance, but the garage was 5 blocks away. We just skipped the first act, showed up right before the main event and parked in the lot next to Turner - $5.

    The sound was alright. It was kind of fuzzy closer to stage. You could hear the vocalist more clearly from the bar in the back. Beer was relatively cheap for a concert. $5 22oz New Glarus - love, love, love! It wasn't too packed and it was smoke-free.

  • 6705 N Northwest Hwy
    Chicago, IL 60631
    4.0 étoiles

    If the Reuben sandwich were a woman, I would motorboat that. I'm pretty sure that's what it looked like as I chowed down on it. My face was buried deep within the corned beef, melty cheese, sauerkraut and bread. I'm not a fan of rye, thousand island or cabbage, but I could get used to this. It was the best Reuben I've ever had. Though I've only tried a few, because I'm not typically big on the ingredients.

    The food was great, the beer selection and other beverage choices are pretty expansive and they have Magner's Cider in bottles or on draught. I started with a Magner's, went a little less sweet with a Snakebite, went balls to the wall all out Irish with a Guinness and then mixed it up with a Black Death.

    Atmosphere is slightly upscale Irish "pub". It wasn't dingy enough to be authentic. But it's quite laid-back, and alternative music with sprinkles of Irish folk tunes play softly in the background. The bar itself is designed to look like a barrel and you also can sit at high-top tables or cozy booths. Later in the evening a guitarist and a violinist came and showed us how to really play a tune on the strings.

    Considering the conversation went from motorboating to linguistics and language families, I would say that sinners and saints could find some common ground here. If I end up moving to the area then I can definitely see this becoming a local favorite for a good vibes kind of night.

    Sláinte agus táinte!

  • 43 E Jefferson Ave
    Naperville, IL 60540
    4.0 étoiles

    I'm surprised people only think this place is simply OK. I am in love. My only real problem with it is the price. It is a bit steep, but not any crazier than most places that don't even offer half the atmosphere and have sub-standard bar food. Two people going nuts on appetizers, drinks and food set my shoe purchasing power back $80 when all was said and done.

    Wednesday night was pretty hopping. They had a live band playing great southern music, a little bluegrass, some funk and a mix of 90s hits. I like choices and everything they played was great.

    Our waiter, Ryan was the greatest. He was always there to take our orders and even though they didn't have any cider on tap, he was more than willing to help me out with my Snake Bite jones. A bottle of Magner's and a Guinness later, I was sipping happily.

    The food is amazing. A-MAZ-ING, ya hear? Their stuffed potato skins are overflowing with bacon, onions and cheese. The Reuben rolls are out of this world. Think a Reuben sandwich without the bitter sauerkraut. They have cabbage alright, but they don't just roll it up and call it a day. No, my friend. They stuff that little sucker into an egg roll. I don't even like egg rolls that much and I was wolfing these bad boys down.

    Their soups are a'ight, not Irish enough to be authentic and not crazy enough to be considered ethnic inspired. My jerk chicken soup tasted like a creamy gumbo. I barely touched it and the waiter noticed. He got me a new soup to try, which was the potato lentil. It was just slightly better. The taste was a bit too similar to garlic powder. They could improve in that area.

    The stew! THE STEW! You got to get it! Go with the Shepard's Pie or Lamb Stew. Both are cooked to perfection. I am still not entirely sure what all is in the lamb stew, but I'm not one to think too much about these things. All I know is that it is delicious. It comes with chunks of celery, potato, carrots and meaty morsels of lamb. If it had been any fresher it would have been a fetus.

  • Union Park
    Chicago, IL 60607
    4.0 étoiles

    North Coast was... interesting. That's the best way to describe it. It's been almost a month since I attended and I'm still not sure what to think about the entire thing. First of all, who lets their children out of the house dressed (rather undressed) like that?

    Skanky clothing aside, there were some pretty unique and fashionable outfits at this event. The best "costume" was definitely the nude body paint courtesy of talented artists in the Reader Living Arts Gallery. Totally psychedelic and all kinds of amazing.

    I was smart enough to snag the 3-Day Pass for $45 via Groupon. It was a wise investment as there were limited daily passes for $40 which eventually got all the way up to $70+. I only came for part of Saturday, but I was there most of Sunday. Parking on Saturday day was a breeze. It was a little harder on Sunday, but I still found free parking about 5 blocks down. You can also easily access the festival via public transportation. But if you aren't staying in the city at night then you may want to drive. I went to one of the after parties at Cobra Lounge and there would have been no way to get back out to Naperville without a car.

    Toilets were plentiful. Some ran out of toilet paper, so always come prepared. Stock piles of Chipotle napkins are your friend! And moist towelettes. Trust me on this one.

    Sound was amazing. They did a great job of setting up the stages and making sure people got a good show whether they were upfront or across the park. I really loved seeing Major Lazor, but Gogol Bordello stole the show. I liked that they were most likely the most "mature" act there. Otherwise, it's really just like a giant high school or college party. I'm 25 and I kinda felt old (and overdressed) there.

  • 3759 N Damen Ave
    Chicago, IL 60618
    4.0 étoiles

    Went to Xippo with Jelena Z. and her friend. Eyes Manouch was playing their Friday gig, so I had to come out and support one of my favorite live bands. And Xippo supported us being there, big time. Two rounds of free drinks served by a very fine and friendly bartender.

    I only have two complaints. 1) Bathrooms aren't labeled and hard to find in the dark. So is there a guys' and a girls', or is it just a free for all? And there wasn't toilet paper when I went the first time. 2) Not enough space to comfortably dance to the great music. Just enough to move around a little, but pushing some chairs away from that dance space for concerts would do it much good.

    All in all, I support any place that supports the things I like. Aside from my two complaints I have nothing but love for Xippo.

  • 2424 N Lincoln Ave
    Chicago, IL 60614
    3.0 étoiles

    Lincoln Hall has me torn. I love music and I love the musical acts Lincoln Hall showcases, but the service (especially that -insert a string of expletives- automated phone system) needs a lot of work.

    I purchased a ticket online for the Balkan Beat Box concert featuring Chicago's own Black Bear Combo and DJ RomaSoul. The ordering feature was as simple and rewarding as apple pie, except for that pesky "convenience" charge. But I had my ticket and I was ready to go.

    Wait a minute... It's the day of the concert and I realize I need a second ticket for my last-minute guest. It's past 5pm, so I can't order it online. But that shouldn't be a problem, right? They tell you to call their number. And then all hell breaks loose.

    I call and get a pre-recorded message with a list of choices. It tells me tickets are available for purchase at LH starting an hour before a show (if not sold out). Now the question is whether or not they have tickets left and how many. The system tells you to call Schuba's for music information and that people will be answering phones starting at 5pm (it is now 6:15pm). I hang up and call Schuba's number and get another automated system that sends me to a voicemail. I call again 15 minutes later and get a person who tells me to call the LH number and they cannot transfer me because it's an entirely different location. I call LH and try "Ticket transfer" (nothing). It goes through the list of options and there is no back button. I hang up. I call again and press 6, which should take me to a person to answer music questions, and it informs me my call is over and hangs up on me. I call for the SIXTH TIME and try 0. The system politely tells me to go F myself for trying to reach a live person and hangs up. Now I'm pissed.

    I pick up my +1 and we head into the city. I'm cursing the entire time that if we get there and it is sold out I am going to be angry since this is a simple question and I can't get it answered by the worthless system. However, this is an Eastern European-influenced show, so I'm hoping other concert goers will be running on Balkan time and show up later than I do. And they did and everything worked out. The boy even got his at-the-venue-day-of ticket for $20 when I paid $22 online for advance (go figure). But everything was pretty much fine past that. The door people were great, our bartender was on it (once she finally acknowledged our presence), and I did enjoy the (overpriced) meal served with my cold beers.

    The venue itself is pretty good. There were a lot of people but it wasn't too crowded. You could maneuver and get drinks at multiple locations. The sound system was pretty good. I was right in front and I could hear everything and many places are notorious for loosing their quality the closer you get to the stage. Not here. I will definitely return but I'll make sure to know how many tickets I need in advance so I don't have to deal with that -insert slew of Balkan insults- automated system again.

  • 650 N Dearborn St
    Chicago, IL 60611
    3.0 étoiles

    Not the most happening place, but nice enough. My friend invited me to check out the band Eyes Manouche, which will be playing every Monday until further notice. The band livened things up with their gypsy jazz and the best part is that it was free.

    The owner is nice, the waitresses are attentive, but the drinks are WEAK. You should probably hit up somewhere a bit cheaper and throw some back before you come here. I had 4 cranberry vodkas and a beer and didn't feel a thing. I had two drinks before I came, so that's saying something. Our bill was $75 with tip for 8 drinks.

    Joynt provides a good atmosphere to enjoy music with your friends, but don't expect it to be the most hopping place. But do come to support the bands if you like to relax and enjoy real music.

  • 2 W Busse Ave
    Mount Prospect, IL 60056
    3.0 étoiles

    This seems like an alright place. I only spent about half an hour here to catch a little bit of the local school garage bands that were playing. My friend's boyfriend helped to set it up, so we wanted to stop by and show some love. It was great to see that bigger, theme-places are supporting the locals and the ahhhhhrts.

    We weren't forced to buy anything and we got water refills without dirty looks. I'd be more than happy to come back and really get a feel for the place.

    Commentaire de Kenan W. de Blues Bar
    23/08/2010 Please do come back and try our food and extensive beer list (if you're of age :))!
  • 9526 Ogden Ave
    Brookfield, IL 60513
    3.0 étoiles

    I don't know what it is about this place, but I keep hearing "the freaks come out at night" in the back of my mind. It doesn't seem to matter at what time or on which day of the week I show up here, I know I'm going to leave feeling violated by someone. And being single for as long as I have, I would consider welcoming some stranger danger and good touch / bad touch, but a good chunk of the customers are straight up creepers. The upside is that my friend and I get to oggle the Greek god of a bartender.

    Good: My friend and I can show up and know we'll be VIP when her boyfriend is playing a gig. They serve Effen vodka and have grenadine, I've never had to wait longer than 2 minutes to be served. Many beers to choose from.

    Bad: Dirty, questionable clientele, a deficit of Maraschino cherries.

  • 7900 Joliet Rd
    Willowbrook, IL 60527
    3.0 étoiles

    My friend's boyfriend plays gigs here sometimes, so we come to show our support and get our drink on. It's kind of a fun place to do it, somewhere between an Irish pub, a dive bar and a grill. I'm not even sure how to describe it. The last time I came was around Halloween, and they had the giant, fake stone wall and covered with cobwebs.

    Drink specials were pretty good. They have your regular Irish drink on tap, domestic and imported bottles. My personal favorite will always be hard cider. It wasn't too expensive, either.

    But the best part about Kerry Piper is most definitely the Big Buck Hunt. Picture if you will, two inebriated girls battling to the death on this giant arcade game. I started out strong and impressed my friend. She asked where I learned to hunt and I reloaded, looked her straight in the eye and said, "I'm from Minnesota."

  • 2723 N Halsted St
    Chicago, IL 60614
    3.0 étoiles

    I've been to Hidden Shamrock twice now. The first time was for a hash and the second time was for a live music event. Both times were pretty good. It's a standard bar with an assortment of beer and hard liquor.

    At the hashing event they provided us with complimentary 312 beer. This was our kinda-sorta half-way point and we stopped in for just 15 minutes. They handed out a ton of beer and left us to our own devices. I downed two beers, used the bathroom, and we were on our way. It wasn't much time to get a real feel for the bar, but I was able to actually remember that I came here before. I'm kind of impressed with my intoxicated memory.

    The second time I came here was over the weekend. I was there to see a band and got to check out a couple other acts as well. This time we were in the back bar and I've got to say that I prefer it to the front. We also ordered the Loaded Tater Tots and they were pretty damn good. Real nacho cheese sauce and smothered in bacon, sour cream and chives. The tots were chewy inside and crispy outside. Perfect.

    As far as drinks - overpriced. Large PBR for $6. Yikes! That's real beer prices and PBR is not real beer. Granted, it's a beer I love sometimes. But they practically give you PBR for free where I come from. And Guinness was a whopping $7. I figured I'd make up for it by claiming my "free shot" through foursquare, but you didn't get to pick your shot. It was Jameson, which I promptly handed over to my boyfriend. Irish bars seem to be notoriously overpriced.

    I won't object to coming here for concerts or special events. They have a pretty good set up and the bartenders are on it. I just don't think I'll go out of my way to come here. It's OK.

  • 7006 N Glenwood Ave
    Chicago, IL 60626
    2.0 étoiles

    Came here with my friend to see a couple of groups play some music. Wasn't that excited about the first group, but the second one was great. The show started a little late, which tends to be typical at these kinds of bars. Everyone was very relaxed and no fights occurred. For me, this was an OK experience.

    Drinks were priced well, but my vodka cranberry tasted pretty nasty. Service was slow it took a while to order and then even longer to get my bill. The place is small, so they didn't appear to have waiters/waitresses and our table ended up being piled with empty bottles from other people at the show.

    Wouldn't be opposed to coming here again, but it's not the first on my list of hangouts.

  • 2135 N Milwaukee Ave
    Chicago, IL 60647
    2.0 étoiles

    I came here for Riot Fest to see Social Distortion and it was horrible. The company (my friends) was the only thing that kept me from leaving sooner and tolerating it as long as I did.

    The building itself is beautiful. I was so pumped when I realized how spacious the venue is, but that also meant that many more people and that much longer of a line for anything (not even) worth standing in line for. I skipped the bar and went to the bathroom only if I absolutely had to.

    The acoustics are terrible. All vocals were lost in the abyss of bodies. We were standing in back and could not make out a single word any of the bands were singing. My friend and I figured we were too far away, so we slowly made our way into the crowd and almost made it to the stage where we both agreed that it had nothing to do with location - As fancy as this place seems, the sound doth sucketh wherever thou art.

    There was only so much bass I could handle before I gave up and left halfway through the performance that I had been anticipating. And I didn't feel too bad since I had purchased a Groupon for this and had paid half price. I was bummed about this for what I paid, but I'd have been pissed if I had shelled out full price.

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