Reggie’s Music Joint & Rock Club (Music Venue, South Loop)
The first time I walked into Reggie’s Music Joint, the televisions were playing the Powerpuff Girls next to the Blackhawks game, which was below live footage of Queen performing in front of a 50s Flash Gordon projection subtitled in German. Alright, I thought to myself, this is my kind of place. Hey, what’s that? Friday night and you’ve still got 312 for three dollars? Not bad, Reggie.
The second time I visited Reggie’s, I was greeted by a stranger: “Welcome to heavy metal fucking heaven.” I didn’t want to tell him the live music that I had come to see that night was going to be dance, funk, and hip-hop. But it does attest to the diversity of the bands that play. When Reggie’s first opened, I couldn’t help but think I could have been a regular there in high school (well, for the all ages shows at least). Alas, when it opened in 2007, long after I escaped my punk rock phase, I neglected to ever really check out the bill there, as I was busy blowing whatever pocket money I had at the more time–tested venues. These days I’m either I’m more open-minded, the venue has expanded its variety or I’m actually just paying better attention, but Reggie’s can play host to a diverse crowd. It has certainly claimed its name as the mid-sized go-to venue for touring punk and metal acts to stop by, but don’t be surprised to find more and more hip-hop, acoustic and even stand-up comedy acts.
It would be remiss to only speak of Reggie’s as a music venue. Of course the most genius part of the establishment is the record store, with vinyl, CDs, DVDs, shirts, posters and more. The selection is constantly updated, and the location holds its own in an otherwise music-purchasing desert. Open till 11pm every day, you can satisfy your vinyl hunger at pretty much any time. A different type of hunger you’re looking to satiate? The food in the Joint is classic American comfort, appropriately surrounded by the brick interior and communal wooden benches. The Joint doubles surprisingly as a fine sports bar for the area, with 17 flat screen plasmas to catch any game happening. The walls alternate between memorabilia and posters from both the athletic and music worlds. Likewise, lining the bar, you’re just as likely to find a Cheap Trick ticket stub as one from a 1990s Bulls game. The Rock Club next door is the one hosting the more well-known bands with a more industrial feel to it, as well as local graffiti artists taking over the walls.
Other bonuses to Reggie’s? Live band karaoke every Wednesday at the Joint as well as a shuttle bus transporting between sporting events, and even concerts at other venues. Reggie’s has already proved itself to be the full package to music lovers. Still an infant in the Chicago scene, its all-or-nothing ethos certainly deserves its “best reason to venture outside your ‘hood” nod. And though it may not be going anywhere for some time, I highly recommend taking that venture sooner rather than later.