Lincoln Hall (Bar & Music Venue, Lincoln Park)
As is usually the case with siblings, the baby gets all the attention while the older sibling seethes with jealousy. Without anthropomorphizing music venues or speculating on a given building’s feelings, Schubas’ little sister Lincoln Hall has quickly become the premier music venue in all of Chicago. For a neighborhood overrun by DePaul youths, Lincoln Hall is a shining bastion of musical relevancy in an otherwise artistically dehydrated area.
Before I had even attended a show there, I knew Lincoln Hall was lauded for its superb acoustics. Despite a boxy interior appearance, I have to admit the venue does have some of the best sound I’ve heard around the city. Keep in mind this doesn’t necessarily apply to the balcony. Although you can guarantee a better view of the stage, the sound gets a bit bass heavy and muddled. But if you’re looking more for a chill spot to have a conversation and enjoy some nice background tunes, feel free to pull up a table upstairs near the bar. However, if you’re there for the purpose of music, anywhere on the ground floor will be great. The venue, although considered mid-sized, retains the intimacy Schubas is known for.
Whereas Schubas boasts about hosting bands before they get big (Sufjan Stevens, Modest Mouse), Lincoln Hall allows you the chance to hit them up one last time in a cozy atmosphere that doesn’t feel cramped. Musically, you can find acts ranging from the latest indie blog-bands to electro-house ragers to American roots, with a smattering of jazz and hip-hop for good measure. In addition to good tunes, the venue summons it’s historical apparition as a movie theater by airing free double features of flicks generally related in theme (Big Lebowski/Kingpin) or creator (Blazing Saddles/Spaceballs). You can also expect the occasional screening of music-related features.
If you’re feeling a bit peckish before the show, there’s a full restaurant and bar before you head in for tunes. Most of the food is standard salads and sandwiches, but with the kinds of culinary twists to keep each item on the menu sounding fresh and tasty. Check out the weekly and $5 happy hour meal specials on the menu online. Most draught beers are $5, but with a pretty wide selection; they’ve got a few wines to choose from as well for all the classy folk out there.
The building that houses Lincoln Hall has been around nearly a century. Its past includes not only being a movie theater, nickelodeon, and machine shop, but it also acted as one of the buildings sharpshooters stationed themselves on to prevent John Dillinger’s escape from that other historic building across the street, the Biograph Theater. The music venue is only in its infant stages, but is already on its way proving itself worthy of its housings significance.
Location: 2424 N Lincoln Ave.