Culture + Style

Underground Sound: Where to Be a Total Punk in Chi-Town

(Photo: Shae Cardenas/Shutterstock.com)

You seem like a bit of a rebel, so I’m going to let you in on a secret. Believe it or not, Chicago once made a name for itself in punk music, setting the foundation for a lively scene that continues to draw musicians from this region and beyond. The early midwestern punk spirit lives on in local venues that host bands of all punk varieties. If you’re looking for a historic Chicago experience you won’t forget, take a punk page from some of the local venues and what they represent.

It’s Okay to be Complex

chicago-underground-sound-punk-music-concerts-venues-reggies.jpgReggies (Photo: Ten Photos)

Due south of the Loop sits an entire building dedicated to music. Opened in 2007, Reggies houses two stages with nightly music, a bar and grill, rooftop and street side patios and a record store to boot. Between the intimate Music Joint and the pit-like Rock Club, you’ll have trouble deciding where to start. To borrow a phrase from SNL’s City Correspondent Stefon, “This place has everything.”

Always Come as You Are

chicago-underground-sound-punk-music-concerts-venues-cobra-lounge.jpgCobra Lounge (Photo: Ten Photos)

When you’re in the mood for something with grit, Cobra Lounge is the place to go. Opened in 2006, the venue stands solitary, only a couple El stops west of the Loop by the Green or Pink lines. Food, drink and live, rocking music to keep you late into the night. They even brew their own beer!

Prepare for the Unexpected

chicago-underground-sound-punk-music-concerts-venues-subterranean.jpgSubterranean (Photo: Ten Photos)

The only underground element of Subterranean is its acts. The second story concert space we locals call SubT opened in 1996. You can see the stage dead-on from almost anywhere stage level or gaze from the balcony above, but there’s nothing quite like the heart of the pit during an up-and-coming band. Watch your head on the balcony stairs if you choose the higher road.

Make Your Own Doors

chicago-underground-sound-punk-music-concerts-venues-double-door.jpgDouble Door (Photo: Ten Photos)

Double Door opened in the heart of Wicker Park in 1994, long before the neighborhood’s rise in popularity. There, you can enjoy the Double Door’s integration into the neighborhood and scene by catching staple local acts and special showcases presented by our beloved punk festival, Riot Fest, throughout the year.

Widen Your Perspective

chicago-underground-sound-punk-music-concerts-venues-metro.jpgThe Metro (Photo: Ten Photos)

As the stalwart of Chicago’s punk past, The Metro hosted countless punk shows at the height of the scene after opening in 1982. You’ll feel its history the moment you walk in. The venue is steps from Wrigley Field, and often shares its stage between touring and local acts. The Metro’s raised stage, open balcony and wide floor mean you can see clearly from almost every angle. Even Rolling Stone recognizes this, putting The Metro at number 4 on its Venues That Rock list.