“The Insider's Guide” Of Where To Go And What To Do In Chicago
Located in a tiny, intimate space under a bar, the aptly-named Elbo Room fills up quickly with around 200 eager Chicagoans to watch a lineup of local bands. The basement is dimly-lit and buzzing with anticipation—what eclectic collection of artists will be performing this time? The answer is always different and ranges wildly from hip-hop, ska, rock and roll, and everything in between, all in one night. There is something for everyone, and the contrasting sounds keep energy high as onlookers revel in the unabashed mashup of musical genres.
Elbo Room opened its doors as a rock venue in 1989, having been a factory in prior years. The ground level is home to a lounge and full bar, furnished with a few tables and chairs and a small stage for acoustic sets and comedy acts. As you descend the metal staircase, however, the authentic, gritty persona of the venue really shines through. The only furniture downstairs are a few well-loved couches smashed up against the wall. The rest of the floor is bare, save for a small bar (for those rockers who don’t want to venture back upstairs for another drink) and, of course, the stage. As much as it’s no-frills, Elbo Room remains a Lakeview favorite. It’s a space in which up-and-coming artists can get their voices out to people who will listen. The atmosphere is casual and fun, and the possibilities for entertainment are limitless, not to mention their $2 dice shots and in-house pizza.
Elbo Room is a showcase for diverse art and creative minds. It’s one of the many cramped, hidden gems Chicago has to offer and leaves its patrons coming back night after night in search of more personal, exhilarating experiences.
Elbo Room opens at 7 PM every day and closes at 3 AM on Saturdays and 2 AM on every other day of the week. Besides the concerts, they also host an open mic on Wednesdays for those who want to get a taste of being on stage and on Thursdays through Saturdays, patrons get introduced to local bands. While the cocktail lounge upstairs expects credit cards ($20 minimum purchase, though), the downstairs bar is cash only.