Get us in your inbox

Empty Bottle T-shirt
Photograph: Zach Long

The best Chicago music venue merch to buy right now

Buy T-shirts, hats, books and socks to support some of your favorite local music venues

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long

Since you can't buy concert tickets at the moment, you may be searching for ways to support Chicago's best music venues so that we still have places to see live music when the world returns to relative normalcy. If you haven't already, you should absolutely donate to fundraisers for staff, so that the folks who work at your favorite venues can stay afloat during this trying time. If you still have cash to spare, why not buy some merchandise to show off your support for concert halls throughout the city. We've assembled some of our favorite pieces of Chicago music venue merch that you can order online—just be aware that some of this stuff probably won't ship out to you until conditions improve.

Green Mill T-shirt

Photograph: Courtesy Green Mill

Green Mill Cocktail Lounge T-shirt ($20)

It's pretty strange to walk by the Green Mill (while maintaining proper social distancing measures) and observe its un-illuminated marquee. Until the jazz club reopens its doors, you might be able to light up a friend's face by sporting this shirt bearing the Green Mill's iconic logo.

Thalia Hall branded socks

Photograph: Courtesy Thalia Hall

Thalia Hall socks ($12)

You might already have some music venue T-shirts, but it's unlikely that you have any music venue socks. These foot coverings devoted to the Pilsen concert hall come in a variety of colors, and they even have their own Instagram account.

Schubas Lincoln Hall book

Photograph: Courtesy Weeva, Inc and Audiotree

30/10: A History of Schubas Tavern and Lincoln Hall ($35)

We can't gather in rooms with other people to watch live music, but we can reminisce about some of our favorite shows with the help of this book commemorating the 10th and 30th anniversaries of Lincoln Hall and Schubas Tavern, respectively. Packed with concert photos, photo booth strips and posters from throughout each venue's history, this coffee table tome should tide you over until the Schlitz and in-person tunes begin flowing again.

Hideout Bucks

Photograph: Courtesy Steve Krakow and Hideout

Hideout Bucks ($25)

The Hideout has its own currency! While they're not legal tender, these bills created by local artists can be redeemed for $20 worth of beverages at the Hideout's bar (once this is all over, of course). The extra $5 you pay will go to the artist that designed each of these phony bucks, so stock up for a celebratory post-quarantine evening at one of Chicago's coziest spots.

Metro tote bag

Photograph: Courtesy Metro

Metro / Smartbar tote bag ($10)

Show off your support for two of Chicago's best music venues by lugging your stuff around in a single tote bag, decorated with the logos of Wrigleyville institutions Metro and Smartbar.

Empty Bottle T-shirt

Photograph: Courtesy Bill Connors and Empty Bottle

Empty Bottle Artist Series: Bill Connors T-shirt ($20)

Wear your favorite dive bar/music venue on your back and breast pocket (where you can also stash some earplugs) by donning this T-shirt designed by local artist Bill Connors. The Empty Bottle phone number is printed under a rendering of the battered Old Style sign that hangs outside the venue, making this essential for folks who like to call and ask for set times.

Sleeping Village dog bandana

Photograph: Courtesy Louie Capozzoli and Sleeping Village

Sleeping Village dog bandana ($15)

We sincerely miss spending time on Sleeping Village's spacious patio, where canine companions are usually a common sight. Since we can't stare at other people's dogs in person, this bandana (depicting some famous pups like Snoopy and Scooby-Doo) will have to suffice for now. You can order this for pick-up from the Avondale venue, where you can also snag growlers and cans of beer and cider to-go.

Promontory hat

Photograph: Courtesy Promontory

The Promontory 'P' hat ($23)

Cover your head with this stylish black cap, emblazoned with the Promontory's "P" logo. Wear it all you want while you're stuck inside, but remember to be polite and take it off when you head to a show at the Hyde Park venue—it might be partially obscuring someone's view of the stage!

Old Town School of Folk Music Water Bottle

Photograph: Courtesy Old Town School of Folk Music

Old Town School of Folk Music water bottle ($25)

All of that picking on your guitar or banjo while you're cooped up indoors can make you awful thirsty, so why not sip from this water bottle while you work on new finger-picking patterns? This Old Town School of Folk Music's stainless steel water bottle also keeps liquids hot, though maybe not as fiery as the new riffs you're learning.

Kingston Mines Apron

Photograph: Courtesy Kingston Mines

Kingston Mines kitchen apron ($20)

The music at Chicago blues club Kingston Mines takes place on two stages, so, ideally, you should wear this apron adorned with the venue's logo when you're cooking two dishes simultaneously (while also listening to some 12-bar licks).

Most popular on Time Out

- You can order brunch to go from these amazing Chicago restaurants
- South Loop residents are saluting healthcare workers with nightly balcony celebrations
- Governor Pritzker recommends Illinois residents wear masks when in public
- For the first time ever, Au Cheval offers its fan-favorite burger for delivery
- Support the Music Box Theatre by streaming an art-house film at home

Latest news


    The best things in life are free.

    Get our free newsletter – it’s great.

    Loading animation
    Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

    🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

    Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!