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Lincoln Hall, Metro, Spy Bar, Empty Bottle Make Rolling Stone's Best List

By DNAinfo Staff | October 11, 2013 7:23am
  Rolling Stone  has polled arists and other music industry figures to come up with a list of the best concert venues.
best clubs
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LINCOLN PARK — Lincoln Hall has been many things since it opened in 1912: a nickelodeon, a garage, a machine shop, a theater and a cinema.

Now it's one of the nation's top concert venues, according to a panel of music insiders.

Chris Schuba opened the venue in 2009 with his brother Mike, describing it on its website as "a human-scale intimate experience where we can put music first."

Indeed, through the years it has hosted acts from Mumford and Sons and Ellie Goulding to this weekend's hot duo, Boy.

Fans describe its great acoustics, sightlines and reasonable drink prices. "Clean bathrooms— this is important people," one reviewer posted on Yelp.

Lincoln Hall joins some of the city's most fabled music venues on a national "best-of" list compiled by Rolling Stone magazine with the help of musicians, managers, promoters and venue operators.

Among those with local connections contributing to the list: Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy, Andy Cirzan of Jam Productions and Lollapalooza boss Perry Farrell.

Best Dance Clubs

Spy Bar, 646 N. Franklin St., comes in at No. 9 on the list.

Says the review: "A $1 million renovation a few years back made this intimate River North party paradise sweeter than ever."

(Beta in Denver is No. 1.)

Best Rock Clubs

Schubas Tavern, 3159 N. Southport Ave., is listed at No. 5 and described as an "intimate and warm sounding little wooden box." The century-old building was built as part of a Schlitz Brewery project.

The Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Ave., at No. 12 nationally, is noted as "the city's most consistent punk-and-indie rock club — not to mention the free jazz, skronky pop and other out-there genres." With its awning advertising Music Friendly Dancing and its Old Style Cold Beer sign, the Empty Bottle is a Ukrainian Village landmark.

Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln Ave., places 15th on the poll. "Longtime Chicagoans know this castlelike 1912 building for its rooftop — where FBI snipers stood to make sure mobster John Dillinger didn't escape from the nearby Biograph Theatre," Rolling Stone says. 

(Bowery Ball Room in New York is No. 1)

Best Big Rooms

Metro, 3730 N. Clark St., was originally a Swedish community center. Described as "a rock mecca" by the magazine, it opened with a $5 R.E.M. show some 31 years ago. It places at No. 4.

House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn St., comes in at No. 18. Arena acts often stop by for "a change of pace," the authors note, citing Pete Townsend, Pearl Jam and Prince. It opened in 1996.

(930 Club in Washington, D.C., is No. 1)

Best Arenas and Stadiums

Wrigley Field wins the No. 2 spot. Acts there have included Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Pearl Jam and the Police.

Pearl Jam's lead singer and Cubs fan Eddie Vedder enthusiastically told a crowd in July: "Ernie Banks likes to say 'Let's play two.' I say, 'Let's play until two.'''

(Madison Square Garden, New York is No. 1.)

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