So far, our little tour of Chicago’s progressive rock n’ roll hotspots have yielded a "glass half full" trip to the The Empty Bottle and top secret visit to The Hideout. Since nothing good comes easy, we're going even further off the map with four irreftuable reasons to stop by a Logan Square treasure they call The Whistler.
This intimate club only holds 75 people. And unlike many of the sprite-and-vodka, downtown "hot spots" the doormen at The Whistler keep the joint at a reasonable capacity. They don't pretentiously hassle you for wearing sneakers, but they're pretty strict about one-in, one-out. Be patient. This place is worth the wait and here are a few reasons why:
The folks who play at The Whistler are truly amongst the most cutting-edge in Chicago. Often times it is an expertly curated roster of relatively unknown bands but it can also be very well known artists trying out a new side project or experimenting with new sounds.
“Experimental” would be the one word to describe the music performed here. Very progressive electronic music seems to be it’s staple but they often feature great alt-country acts, retro DJ sets and were recently named one of the world’s top jazz venues by Downbeat Magazine.
Live music typically runs Sunday – Thursday with DJ sets on Friday and Saturday.
The people who run this place are great. Everything is done with a solid sense of style.
Billy Helmkamp is a phenomenal mixologist capable of conjuring the best drinks I've ever had the privelage of slurping. It’s no wonder The Whistler was named as one of GQ Magazine's 25 Best Cocktail Bars in America.
Oh yeah… There is never a cover charge to get into the Whistler. It’s always free, so get there early! Just look for the storefront window loaded with unique, ever changing works of art.
Storegront Gallery Paper by Robert Brenner
Leroy Bach (Friday November 23rd at 6pm) – There’s absolutely no way to adequately sum up Leroy’s career in the scope of this post, but let’s just say he's a force. He’s worked with Wilco, Andrew Bird, Liz Phair, Iron and Wine, Joan of Arc and Bonnie Prince Billy to name just a few. He’s doing a Friday evening happy hour of solo guitar during many of the Fridays during November.
Mawrcrest (Wednesday November 28th at 10pm) - Although their sound has been changing over the years, these guys always catch my ear. At first I would have pegged them pretty solidly in the Chicago “Alternative Country” made famous by Wilco, Son Volt and others, but now their tunes seem to be trending toward more straight ahead rock. Great hooks, great guitar playing, they will not disappoint.