Soccer Club Club | The scene

Opening night of Drag City’s private venue in Cragin.
Photograph: Max Herman Azita performs at Drag City Records' Soccer Club Club.
By Jake Malooley |

Friday, June 1, 9:15pm When the record label Drag City—home to Joanna Newsom and Bonnie “Prince” Billy—decided in October to move its headquarters to the Northwest Side Cragin neighborhood, one of the building’s selling points was the attached barroom. Believed to have once been a private club for a Polish soccer team, the space was christened Soccer Club Club (2923 N Cicero Ave). Its decor is late-’80s Euro tackiness preserved: mirror-bedecked walls, sea-green faux-marble tile bathrooms and a pair of mosaics depicting soccer scenes. Little was changed for the venue’s opening party, an exhibition of optical paintings by Lisa Alvarado, who later sat in with the hypnotic outfit Natural Information Society. The only noticeable addition to the space was a piano on which Drag City torch songstress AZITA played a short set to a small audience that included jazz drummer Mike Reed, WBEZ reporter Alison Cuddy and Numero Group cofounder Rob Sevier. Drag City sales director and chief of staff Rian Murphy envisions Soccer Club Club hosting album-release parties and tour kickoffs—all as free, “private” events, because the venue is unlicensed. “We ought to be able to have compact, intimate happenings here from time to time,” Murphy says, “and not bring the wrath of Rahm upon us.”