INNside / Out

a blog serving shots of hideout news

The Infatuation Names The Hideout As Top 25 Chicago Bars

New bars open all the time in Chicago – some Al Capone-themed tiki bar or Australian beer garden probably just opened around the corner from wherever you’re currently located. But there’s no better place to drink than a classic.

So we compiled a list of our favorites – the places we find ourselves returning to over and again. Some are older than others, but they’re the standbys that we can rely on for a number of different occasions. They are the places that make this city great. In other words: the Greatest Hits.

If you live in Chicago, you should drink at them all. If you’re visiting, check out as many as you can. Some spots are cocktail bars, some are dives, others have live music, and then there are a few that fall somewhere in between, but all of them are essential to Chicago.

The Hideout

A bar serving cheap beer in a 100-something-year-old house stranded in an industrial corridor. If that sounds like the type of old man bar whose foundation is pure Chicago sweat and grit, that’s because it is – but it’s so much more than that. An inclusive space for some of the best local and visiting bands, podcasts, and comedy shows. A place that passes out blankets at the bluegrass concerts hosted on their porch. The site of one of the best dance parties in the city every Saturday at midnight. The Hideout feels like a cross-section of the soul of Chicago, which makes it a great place to get drunk.

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Loving Travel Blog Post Paints a Loving Portrait of “Vegetable Bingo” At The Hideout

My wife and I celebrated our anniversary, and my birthday, by going to Chicago for three nights. My wife plans these trips and occasionally consults with me. We were packing a lot in.

-Nice downtown hotel booked cheaply on an internet travel site.
-Dinner at a Pilsen steakhouse restaurant with the kids.
-Chilling at a lakeside beach
-Dinner at a hip new place complete with street-side seating, people watching, and happy hour
-Discussion of a new book by its author at the nearby American Writer’s Museum
-Matinee performance of True West at Steppenwolf
-Drinks and live blues with friends at Rosa’s on West Armitage
-Vegetable Bingo at the Hideout

Wait. Vegetable bingo? How did that make the list?

At dinner my daughter and her partner suggested we join them at the Hideout the following evening for a weekly event that benefits neighborhood gardens. Years earlier she had been part of creating such a garden, Mindful Living, in Logan Square. All volunteer, city-sanctioned, neighborhood supported. We visited. It was a labor of love.

There are 1800 such gardens throughout Chicago and the surrounding area. An organization called NeighborSpace ( preserves and sustains gardens on behalf of community groups through property ownership, insurance, water, education, tool lending, project planning, fundraising support, and more. With that support, community groups operating gardens like Mindful Living can focus on gardening, generating food, beautifying neighborhoods, engaging families and contributing to safer neighborhoods. The Hideout had the idea to help gardens, hooked up with NeighborSpace, and Vegetable Bingo was on.

Our daughter Moe described it much more simply, giving us the elevator speech version.

“The Hideout gives up their backroom every Wednesday to help out the gardens and maybe sell a few more drinks, a different community garden gets the bingo profits every week, and it’s a lot of fun. (Moe understands collaboration). You should come.”

So we did. We have been to the Hideout before. As its name suggests, it has a colorful history.

Legend has it the Hideout was built, slapped up might be a better verb, in 1881 with building materials of an unknown origin by area factory workers who needed a boarding house. It became a public house serving alcohol in 1916 and continued serving throughout prohibition as a neighborhood tavern and speakeasy. It never had a name, until it was required to as a legal bar in 1934. Even after gaining a name, it did not sport a sign proclaiming it until 1996.

The wooden two-story Hideout is inconveniently located on West Wabansia in an industrial area between Lincoln Park and Bucktown. Its neighborhood is changing. The Hideout now finds itself on the very edge of the proposed Lincoln Yards development. Across the street, where they tore down a big Chicago Streets and Sanitation facility, they built a soccer field. Regular patrons are worried for the Hideout’s future. My guess is any dive joint in existence since 1881 will find a way to survive even the best of times.

Vegetable Bingo is held in the back room which was added on in 1954. It’s where bands play, when they are not jammed in the corner of the bar. Sometimes bands play in both places. It’s musical heaven for tunes of all genres. Playing the Hideout is a distinct Chicago honor. Robbie Fulks played there every Monday night for six years beginning in 2011. Their house band, Devil in a Woodpile, can still be seen regularly in the back room. The cover charge is only $5.

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The Washington Post Says NRBQ Never Really Needed A Hit Record To Measure Its Success

At age 18, Scott Ligon spent his nights getting paid to play guitar and his days shopping for records. It was 1988, and he was one of the rising regulars of the St. Louis bar-band scene. He knew his blues, his rock-and-roll and had days’ worth of country and soul covers in his head. One day his older brother brought home a new record as usual, but this time Ligon didn’t recognize the band. It was NRBQ’s “God Bless Us All,” a live album released the year before, and it took only to the middle of the second song, “Here Comes Terry,” before he felt his brain shift.

“The bridge is just a beautiful piece of composition,” he explained to me recently by phone. “I’d heard a lot of music at that point, and this was something I’d never heard before.”

He swiftly tracked down the band’s earlier albums, nearly 20 years’ worth at that point. “It felt like I was listening to the Beatles,” Ligon said. “That’s how good they were. I saw them live and something happened to me. I had this vision, like, ‘I’m supposed to be in this band.’”

For the next 20 years, Ligon says, NRBQ “haunted” him. He moved to Chicago and became one of that city’s go-to talents for studio and live guitar work. But his NRBQ dreams were a running joke among his broadening circle of friends. “Anyone who knew me knew I felt destined,” he says.

In late June, many of those friends gathered for NRBQ’s “Midwestern Conference,” a two-night stint at Chicago’s venerable independent social hall, the Hideout. And up front, stage left as he has been since 2011, his dream finally fulfilled, was Scott Ligon. He’s the second-longest tenured member of the band after founding keyboardist Terry Adams, who, now in his early 70s, has been hacking an inimitable, zigzagging path through the outskirts of pop music since the Johnson administration. These days, the band’s three other members all live and make music in Chicago, but it takes Adams to make something an NRBQ show. Wherever Adams goes, the air seems to shift around him.

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New City Music Cover Story Interviews The Hideout Owners Katie And Tim Tuten

There’s something stirring in the story of a small, plucky scrapper taking on a steamrolling behemoth—whether it’s the English fleet versus the Spanish Armada or Popeye versus Bluto. The Chicago music landscape now has its own version of the story, which began when real estate developer Sterling Bay teamed with concert giant Live Nation to construct an entertainment megaplex on roughly fifty acres of formerly industrial riverfront property located between Lincoln Park and Bucktown, to be called Lincoln Yards. That happens to be the stretch of turf called home by one of Chicago’s oldest, humblest and most beloved music venues: The Hideout. Alarmed by the speed with which the project was proceeding, the Hideout’s owners called on their colleagues and soon formed CIVL—Chicago Independent Venue League—to consolidate their clout, and call a collective “Whoa, there” on the project.

CIVL’s membership is an impressively inclusive assemblage of the principals of the city’s premier music clubs: Beat Kitchen, Empty Bottle, G-Man Tavern, Lincoln Hall, Martyrs, Metro, The Promontory, Schubas, Sleeping Village, SmartBar, Subterranean, Thalia Hall and Whistler. Their endeavor has captured the public imagination—certainly among the musically informed—and lines up with the national zeitgeist, in which sleepy citizens are awakening to the wholesale consumption of their polity by corporations and kleptocrats. But the Lincoln Yards project is still on the docket, so we spoke with The Hideout’s Katie and Tim Tuten about the group’s activities and aspirations.
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Stereogum Says Black Midi Rearranged Matter At Their Hideout Show
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In the short amount of time Black Midi have been a band, they have stirred up a frenzy of hype in their native UK primarily on the strength of their live show. Up until this year, after all, they had barely any music available online, and they kept their debut album Schlagenheim — which ranked in the top 10 on our list of the best albums of the year so far — shrouded in mystery as long as possible. When a band like that arrives, there’ll always be those who are dubious, who think there’s just some shtick or industry fervor behind the whole thing. But, chances are, if you’ve seen Black Midi live before, you know the hype is justified. They proved that over and over at their triumphant SXSW earlier this year, and they really proved it last night in Chicago.

Yesterday was a tricky day at Pitchfork Music Festival. After the threat of storms looming over the entire weekend seemed to disappear, it looked as if Saturday would be a clear day. Then, as Parquet Courts were getting lost in the groove of “Wide Awake,” an evacuation announcement went out over the speakers. The ensuing storm passed quickly enough, but it meant several of the day’s artists weren’t able to play, and the grounds of Union Park were reduced to swamplike textures.

After all that trouble, there were also after shows to enjoy. Given Pitchfork Fest’s early curfew, a lot of these shows function more like a normal gig on any given night in a city, with reasonable set times in ordinary Chicago venues. There were a couple last night — including a Snail Mail show at Thalia Hall where Soccer Mommy joined Lindsey Jordan on a Goo Goo Dolls cover — and one from Black Midi at the very appropriately-titled venue the Hideout. Tucked away on a nondescript corner, it felt like a fitting scenario in which to see Black Midi — a pilgrimage to find this strange foreign band conjuring up all kinds of noise in a small room.

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The Chicago Reader Says Why? Records Makes ‘Compelling And Idiosyncratic Hip-Hop’

Together Davis, Malci, Joshua Virtue, and Ruby Watson make up Chicago’s own rap crew Why? Records. The group started when the four got together in the summer of 2018 to start their brand-new label.

Davis himself grew up on hip-hop. He says his mother used to babysit for Common. He received his BFA in creative writing from Columbia College and even spearheaded a literary magazine, but he didn’t start rapping until 2018. Davis attended rapper Milo’s sold-out show at The Hideout, which re-sparked his passion for the genre.

Malci began making music after graduating from college. He found inspiration from the unusual time signatures of Thundercat and Flying Lotus. Before making music, Malci was reading his poetry in underground performance spaces.

Virtue began making music nearly ten years ago with fellow musician Nnamdi Ogbonnaya. His band put out a song which was eventually heard by Spencer Tweedy, who invited the group to his father’s (Wilco) apartment.

Ruby Watson grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. He moved to Chicago and began going to Columbia for audio design and production. Watson and Virtue met at a house party, where they bonded over rap.

Virtue said working with the rest of the crew feels easy. “They have the same work ethic as me and the same standard for the quality of the sound that we make, and making something that’s equally accessible and completely unique,” he said.

Read an interview with the crew from The Chicago Reader‘s Leor Galil and catch Why? Records Showcase at The Hideout on June 30th.

The Lawrence Peters Outfit Performs Live On WGN-TV

Award-winning group The Lawrence Peters Outfit, which is described as a “scrappy honkey tonk band” plays live on WGN.

Watch the full performance on WGN. Make sure to catch the band play The Hideout on June 23rd as party of the “A Day in the Country” series.

Drag Queens Find ‘Home’ At The Hideout’s ‘Big Queer Variety Show’

Derry Queen’s Big Queer Variety show is held monthly at The Hideout and brings together the most talented LGBTQA+ performers in the city. The Chicago Reader said the show’s theatrics “transcend traditional expectations of drag.”

“His show includes acts ranging between stand-up and sketch, all of which take him at least a month to churn out. Many of the acts rely on gags and pranks pulled on the audience to engage interest. Sound bites are perfectly edited to sync with videos, dubbed over and remixed to present surreal, larger-than-life conceptual pieces that usually stun the crowd. This is a rising form of art that incorporates Internet lingo, social commentary, and pop culture references into one drag number.”

“When you see a drag mix, which is a wide variety of performance in one number, is usually when you see online viral sensations,” says Derry.

“The energy is infectious and it’s what transforms online followings to people coming out to see a live show. It’s what packs Derry Queen’s show at the Hideout, where people sit knee to knee in folding chairs watching a drag number in which Mr. Krabs from SpongeBob SquarePants seduces a dollar bill to ‘I Can Hear the Bells’ from Hairspray.”

Read the full editorial on Chicago’s drag queen scene by The Chicago Reader‘s Meggie Gates.

WGN Share A Drink With White Mystery At The Hideout
photo courtesy of White Mystery

Miss Alex White and Francis Scott Key White are siblings that make up the Chicago-based duo White Mystery. The band started playing The Hideout in the early 2000’s. “There’s a lot of history here,” said Alex White. She says her favorite drink is The Hideout’s signature cocktail, The Wooden Leg.

White said a big highlight of her musical career was playing with Sir Richard Branson at the opening of the Virgin Hotel in downtown Chicago.

Together, the band has toured all across the world, but they always come back to Chicago. “This is where our heart is,” White said.

Watch WGN’s Michael Heidemann, host of Sound Sessions, share a drink with White Mystery at The Hideout on the segment Brews and Bands.

Virtue Cider + Hideout Present: Picnics on the Farm

Virtue Cider and the Hideout, the longtime Chicago live music landmark, have teamed up for a new outdoor music concert series in Fennville, Michigan: Picnics on the Farm. The nine-show series is Southwest Michigan’s answer to the Hideout’s popular annual concert series Picnics on the Porch, featuring both established and up-and-coming artists curated by the Hideout in the genres of folk, country, and singer-songwriter.

Picnics on the Farm are the weekend “road trip” for the Picnics on the Porch artists who performed at the Hideout the previous night in Chicago. Performances will be held each Saturday evening at Virtue Cider in Fennville, Michigan, from 6-8pm beginning July 6. Performances are free to the public, all-ages, and held outdoors on the Cider House Lawn. Acts include Joan Shelley, Itasca, and Freakwater.

The Hideout and Virtue have had a long partnership. Virtue launched its debut cider, RedStreak, at the Hideout in 2012, and have supported the Hideout Block Party and Picnics on the Porch in previous years. This year’s Picnics on the Farm extends this friendship further by introducing the Hideout sound to Southwest Michigan with performances at dusk in a picturesque, rural setting at Virtue’s 48-acre farm.

Picnics on the Farm kicks off on Saturday, July 6 and runs weekly through Saturday, Aug. 31. Grab a blanket, grab your friends, and grab some proper farmhouse cider from the Tap Room to enjoy an al fresco evening of great live music.


7/6 – The Family Gold

7/13 – Joan Shelley / Dogs at Large

7/20 – Big Sadie

7/27 – Itasca

8/3 – Freakwater

8/10 – Joybird

8/17 – Jack Klatt

8/24 – TBA

8/31 – Bill MacKay