It's a new year for Smart Bar, the Wrigleyville nightclub which has been operating since 1982 underneath the Metro. The venue will be undergoing a series of renovations to prepare it for the next few decades of DJ sets, shows and performances. Beginning today, the club will be closed as crews expand the DJ booth, restore the dance floor, upgrade the sound system and install new lighting. Smart Bar will reopen on January 15, kicking off its "Relight the Night" series with a free show from resident DJ Derrick Carter.
Smart Bar talent buyer and resident Marea Stamper told us that the venue's facelift has been in the works for the past year. "Our owner, Joe Shanahan felt it was time to spruce the room up a little, and I think we all agreed," Stamper explained, "First, we introduced the new mural. The fresh lighting and restored floors are a natural next step." She was also quick to note that the club's patrons won't be the only ones benefitting from the upgrades—the expanded DJ booth will include Funktion One DJ monitors, pricey speakers that makes it easier for performers to hear themselves. Stamper noted, "We've always believed that happy DJs make happy dancers."
It might seem like Smart Bar is investing in an effort to capitalize on the current EDM craze, but the venue's staff has more progressive intentions in mind. "One of the reasons we are doing this is to accommodate more of a live electronic element," Stamper told us, "We've often had singers and live performers in the room, from Dajae to Les Sins. The expanded booth will make Smart Bar a more comfortable place for all of them to perform." You shouldn't expect to see Sonic Youth playing at Smart Bar again anytime soon, but the updated equipment means that you might be able to catch sets from artists like Seekae or Daedalus there in the future. For now, Stamper is excited to welcome artists and fans into Smart Bar's upgraded confines, "We want to ensure that the room, regardless of trends, is the best place to perform and hear electronic music in the world."
Check out the newly renovated Smart Bar at of the these "Relight the Night" shows:
Jan 15: Relight the Night with Derrick Carter (FREE)
Jan 16: Oktave with Dasha Rush
Jan 17: Hugo Ball with Norm Talley and Hugo Ball residents
Jan 18: For Frankie with Tony Humphries, Jamie Principle, Louie Vega, David Morales, Derrick Carter, Michael Serafini and Garrett David
Jan 23: Savages with John Roberts, Jeffrey Sfire, Jacob Meehan, and hosts
Jan 24: Addison Groove, Helix, Chris Widman, and Whoa-B
Jan 30: Sleaze with Ivan Smagghe and Chrissy
Jan 31: Orchard Lounge