Party Earth Review Named for a province in northern Spain (not the dude from Lord of the Rings, that’s Aragorn), the 20s-era Aragon Ballroom was designed to resemble a lavish Spanish courtyard, and plays host to bands that can attract large... ... read full review
1106 West Lawrence Avenue
Chicago, IL 60640
Red Line: Lawrence
Box office: M–F 9am–6pm and Sa–Su 10am–6pm if there is a concert day of and tickets are still available
Box office may close later during the week depending on ticket availability
Concert times vary. Check venue website for schedule
Uptown, Chicago –
Named for a province in northern Spain (not the dude from Lord of the Rings, that’s Aragorn), the 20s-era Aragon Ballroom was designed to resemble a lavish Spanish courtyard, and plays host to bands that can attract large crowds but who don’t want an impersonal mega-stadium feel.
Originally a dance hall, the elaborate space has also been home to a roller rink, boxing venue, disco, and even marathon monster rock acts that attracted so many amped-up head-bashers people nicknamed it the Aragon Brawlroom.
Current house rules have quelled behavior a bit – stage diving and crowd surfing are prohibited, and moshing guarantees a boot out the door – but it’s still a helluva sight to see.
The classic, ornately decorated Moorish façade features sculptured stone faces, while the colossal ceiling is painted to recreate a brilliant starry night. The effect is rounded out with castle accoutrements like looming turrets and bas-relief etchings that seem to appear around every turn.
Concerts draw music lovers of all shapes and sizes, with performances by everyone from deadmau5 and Steve Aoki to Rob Zombie and Disturbed, as well as big Latin acts, all bringing the massive throngs to the open dance floor and sweeping balcony.
Truthfully, the acoustics can be spotty, so trained ears will want to get close to the stage to avoid sound wash, but to catch great bands in a venue as brimming with history as it is beauty, it’s hard to beat the Aragon Ballroom.
Highly varied crowd depending on the night’s act, including metalheads, punks, Latino couples, rockers, old hippies, hipsters, and everything between. Some shows are for all ages and bring in some teens, but mostly 20s to mid-40s.
Diverse lineup includes Latin, electronica, rock, metal, punk, hip-hop, funk, salsa, grunge, blues, and more. Occasional boxing events.
Pizza available at the bar. Coat check available in winter.
Tickets $35–$75+ based on performer. Beer $6–$7, water $3–$4.
Varies per show, but casual is the norm: band t-shirts, jeans, punk garb, hippie duds, salsa gear, sassy dresses.
Whenever a band of interest is on the docket.
The Green Mill (4802 North Broadway Street) is a beautiful, intimate jazz bar that offers great riffs and slightly cheaper pre-game drinks.