So you still like to break out that heavy leather trenchcoat or put on that black eyeliner. You still buy your clothes at The Alley. Your iPod is loaded with selections from Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and the Cure form the “Pornography” era. You’re hoping the Convergence festival comes back to Chicago someday. If so, this list is for you. Here we present the best of the Chicago goth scene:


Neo. Photo: Chicago Bar Project


2350 N. Clark St.
(773) 528-2622

The crown jewel of the Chicago goth scene since 1979. If you see a row of people in black leather and punk hairstyles lined up in an alley next to an Urban Outfitters, you know you’re in the right place. Inside, you’ll find a dark room with mist and flashing laser lights, and a bar that was inspired by the pavement of Lower Wacker Drive. The dance floor is lively as DJs spin goth, industrial, EBM and new wave. Photo: Chicago Bar Project

Late Bar

Late Bar. Photo: Allison King

Late Bar

3534 W. Belmont Ave.
(773) 267-5283

Take a trip west to the Avondale neighborhood for this nightspot. Late Bar draws goths, arty types and indie music fans with a playlist of punk, goth, rockabilly, soul, reggae and new independent releases. And the “Planet Earth” new wave night you might remember from Neo is now held here. Also, look for soy and vegan-friendly cocktails.

Metro/Smart Bar

Photo: Metro/Smart Bar

Metro/Smart Bar

3730 N. Clark St.
Metro: (773) 549-4140
Smart Bar: (773) 549-0203

Just up the street from Wrigley Field, this complex is actually two venues. The Metro is a former theater that has hosted an array of venerable rock acts, and once a month, it draws goths of all ages when DJ Scarylady Sarah makes a special trip home from Berlin to host the “Nocturna” event. Downstairs at Smart Bar, you’ll hear DJs spinning everything from funk to industrial.


1315 W. North Ave.
(773) 395-2700

It’s more of a punk and metal club, but if you’re a goth, Exit will be up your alley. The back of the bar is decorated with gas masks, and an old motorcycle might serve as your seat. Upstairs, there’s a caged dance floor, where DJs play metal, old-school punk, industrial and ska.

Lucky Number/2nd Story Loft

Dark Sounds At Lucky Number/2nd Story Loft. Photo: Peter Propaganda

Lucky Number 2nd Story Loft

1931 N. Milwaukee Ave.
(773) 235-7761

Come to this Wicker Park venue every first, third and fifth Friday for “Dark Sounds,” where DJ Peter Propaganda will spin the best in goth, industrial and dark wave. On other nights, look for everything from karaoke to burlesque.