Entertainment near the 606
If you've ever noticed a denim jacket covered in buttons, there's a good chance that many of them were assembled in Chicago at the Busy Beaver Button Company. Founded in 1995, the business has been churning out pins for bands, non-profits and political campaigns for more than two decades. The company's Logan Square headquarters also host the Button Museum, a collection of more than 9,000 historical pin-back buttons.
Before Wicker Park became a sea of boutiques, chain restaurants and condos, the neighborhood attracted artists with cheap rent and trendy coffee houses. Established in 1985, the Flatiron Arts Building is a vestige of the area's bohemian past, containing a smattering of artists' studios and local businesses. The building is open to the public daily, but guests can take a look inside artists studios on the first Friday of each month.
A ramshackle roadhouse of country-rock in an industrial stretch of the city wouldn't be complete without a few characters hanging out on the porch no matter the weather. Longtime local acts like Devil in a Woodpile play inside, but the music can still be heard over the cracking of PBR cans out front. It can be difficult to reach this juke joint via public trans, but it is worth it for the cheap beer, an eclectic array of live music and DJs dropping nostalgia, from Prince to Devo.
Set right in the heart of Wicker Park, this venue has a place for those seeking concerts–and for those simply seeking beer. The upstairs is devoted to a live stage, which features heavy rock and hip hop acts nightly, while the downstairs bar serves as a cozy den for a weekly lineup of reggae and house nights.
Up-and-coming art punks, garage rockers and knuckle-dragging amp crankers come here to hone their chops in one room, while glassy-eyed hipsters bury their heads in coffee and the latest Lapham’s Quarterly at the counter of another room. Food is cheap, bottled beer is mostly craft, and service—though on the slow side of mellow—is as unaffected as the dinerish environs.
Tucked away on the burgeoning Armitage Avenue drag in Logan Square, this family-run spot is owned by local drummer Tony Mangiullo and his mother, after whom the place is named. The schedule mixes local musicians (including a weekly jam) and underground out-of-town acts with growing reputations. A full crowd makes Rosa’s seem cozy rather than congested, which is always a sign of a good venue.
After the fall of the Congress Theater, the party moved up the street to this former Hispanic nightclub. Now, under oversight of React Presents, the electronic music promoter behind the Mid and Spring Awakening Music Festival, the Concord books everything from EDM stars to jam bands, punk, hip-hop and world music. Pillars rising from the parquet floor give it a bit of a warehouse feel, which suits the party vibe. Hang back by the bar or up on the balcony if you want to avoid the scrum.
Sure, you can enjoy a nice steak, a great deli sandwich or a decent cocktail at Chop Shop, but the counters in front hide a sizable event space in the back of the building. Named 1st Ward (after the ward its located in), this venue hosts concerts, parties, dances and plenty of other notable happenings. Plus, you can walk up the stairs and end up on Chop Shop's beautifully secluded rooftop.