Chicago’s 4 Best New Music Venues, and the Eats to Pair With ‘Em

Spoiler: One of them is in a living room

By The Editors
November 6, 2018 9:00 am

Some people don’t need to be reminded of the life-affirming nature of live music.

For the rest of us, it’s like yoga: you’re always happy you went, but sometimes you need a hand getting out the door.

Consider this that hand: the four best new(ish) live-music venues in Chicago. It’s a mix worthy of the city, including what we believe to be the city’s only farm-to-table concert hall, a Parisian-inspired piano bar and this thing where you basically go to someone’s house.

You’ll love it.

Image via Hey Nonny

Hey Nonny
Arlington Heights

In brief: A true rock-in-the-suburbs experience, with cabaret-style cocktail tables circumscribing the stage and a separate area for dining. Expect a medley of mostly regional acts spanning jazz, rock, folk and more.
Best night to go: Why not Sunday afternoon, for the club’s weekly jazz and bluegrass brunches?
Dinner pairing: You won’t have to go far: the front of the house is a gastropub serving upstyled modern American fare (pork belly, steak frites, a wild boar chop).
Upcoming act worth seeing: Visionary jazz drummer Dave King and his eponymous Trio (December 18 and 19)

Image via Sleeping Village

Sleeping Village

In brief: The all-day beer bar and music venue from the folks behind the Whistler houses an incredible 56 draft lines, with one of the largest selections of cider in the city. Expect to drink all of that, while enjoying some of the most curious and exciting live music programming the city has seen in a very long time.
Best night to go: The place hosts name-worthy indie acts nearly every night of the week, but look out for occasional $1 beer nights if you’re a cheap date.
Dinner pairing: Nearby Ludlow Liquors is a swanky cocktail haunt in the old Orbit Room space with a “permanent food installation” slinging Filipino bar bites.
Upcoming act worth seeing: Three nights of Dirty Projectors (November 11-13) or some dark electronica with Matthew Dear’s acclaimed live set (November 15)

Image via Dolo Iglesias / Unsplash

Le Piano: Entreé des Artistes
Rogers Park

In brief: An old-school, dimly lit, artifact-decorated piano bar styled after the ones that have attracted intrepid music heads to Paris’s Latin Quarter for decades. It’s set to open any day now; you can sign up for their mailing list — and thus, updates — here.
Best night to go: Their site promises that live piano music will be featured every evening, but on Fridays and Saturdays, acoustic jazz will follow.
Dinner pairing: In house. The kitchen will be open late, serving hors d’oeuvres, “one-bite” desserts and light supper.
Upcoming act worth seeing: Look, it’s not the economy, it’s piano jazz. If you like it, go.

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Sofar Sounds
Multiple venues

In brief: You’re in someone’s house (or on their roof, or in their yard). You’re not allowed to stare at your phone. And you don’t know who’s on the bill when you buy your tickets. Welcome to the Chicago edition of Sofar Sounds.
Best night to go: Whichever night they’re setting up shop closest to your apartment — gigs rotate between locations all over, including Wicker Park (tonight!), River North, Pilsen, Bucktown, etc.
Dinner pairing: Entirely dependent on where you’re headed.
Upcoming acts worth seeing: It’s all TBD, but there are shows every night for the foreseeable future.

Main image via Sleeping Village


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