When you go to a bar, it’s likely you’re bombarded with latest Top 40 music. But what if that’s not exactly your cup of tea? While you could stay home and have a drink while listening to a playlist that features songs that are more than a decade old, you could also go out for a night out with friends and check out bars that play music from the previous millennium. Here’s where you can go in Chicago and the suburbs if you want to listen to music that topped the charts years ago.
343 S. Dearborn St.
Chicago, IL 60604
Hear old school music with a twist in a big way when you spend the evening at Brando’s Speakeasy, located in Chicago’s Loop neighborhood. Billed as the top vintage karaoke lounge in Chicago, the venue has a number of karaoke songs in the catalog from yesteryear that you can sing with friends, giving you the opportunity to perform your own take on classic hits. “We’ll play Bessie Smith, Frank Sinatra, disco, and Etta James,” noted Dino Vulpitta, the owner of Brando’s Speakeasy, adding that the venue has approximately 140,000 songs in its catalog. If you need to gather some liquid courage before taking the mic, then take a look at the lounge’s extensive selection of beer, wine, cocktails, and martinis, which you can also peruse online.
The Duck Inn
2701 S. Eleanor St.
Chicago, IL 60608
You’ve heard The Beatles, Marvin Gaye, and jazz classics on your smartphone — but what about hearing them on vinyl? When you take part in The Duck Inn’s “Bring Your Own Vinyl” event, you just might hear vintage favorites (and even some new stuff; after all, Adele’s 25 was released on vinyl) in a new way. Held every Sunday starting at noon, the event is a great way to dust off your favorite records to share with the audience or enjoy hearing music in a new way. The Bridgeport neighborhood gastrotavern serves up brunch and dinner, as well as mimosas, cocktails, and craft beer.
180 N. Smith St.
Palatine, IL 60067
Take a virtual step back in time and check out cover bands performing the hits from yesteryear at Durty Nellie’s. The pub, which is located in the northwest suburb of Palatine, has a performance schedule that includes live bands covering hit songs from the ’70s, ’80s, and other eras. You and your friends can groove to the sounds of In The Flesh, a Pink Lloyd tribute band, when the group performs November 4 at 9 p.m. Durty Nellie’s also hosts a number of up-and-coming performers and musical acts across several musical genres, so there’s something for just about everyone on the schedule.
3534 W. Belmont Ave.
Chicago, IL 60618
Relive the good old days of the ’80s and ’90s with the themed music nights at Late Bar. Located in the city’s Avondale neighborhood, the bar has a DJ who spins the must-hear songs from those bygone decades, and will also play some throwback music videos, too. Want to know when to mark your calendar so you can dance to your favorites? Late Bar’s schedule of themed nights is posted on the venue’s website. The bar is also open, well, late, and doesn’t close until 4 a.m. Monday through Friday,and shuts the door at 5 a.m. on Saturday.
2521 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
From David Bowie to Sly and The Family Stone, the jukebox at the Logan Square bar The Owl has something for everyone who wants to hear something a bit vintage. While you’re at it, sip on a beer from the bar’s extensive craft beer menu; you’ll find beer from breweries that include Left Hand Brewing Company, North Coast, Goose Island, and Two Brothers. House cocktails and cider are also on the menu, with Blind Melon and Scott’s Party Shirt among the selections. The Owl’s jukebox also boasts newer tunes, with songs by Jack White, St. Vincent, Beck, and additional artists available; the full list of songs is posted on The Owl’s website.
Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.