Elbo Room

Bar / Live Music Venue
Elbo Room Although named for its location at the corner nook of three intersecting streets, Elbo Room could just as easily refer to what is not available inside, considering the crowds that pack in for the venue's live music offerings... Chicago United States 41.934306074449 -87.6612210273743
3.8 8
Elbo Room - Bar | Live Music Venue in Chicago.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review Although named for its location at the corner nook of three intersecting streets, Elbo Room could just as easily refer to what is not available inside, considering the crowds that pack in for the venue’s live music offerings... ... read full review

  • Train:

    Brown, Purple Express Lines: Belmont, Diversey, Wellington; Red Line: Belmont

  • Phone:

    773-549-5549

  • Links:

  • Hours:

    M–F, Su 7pm–2am, Sa 7pm–3am

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth Elbo Room Review

The Scene

Although named for its location at the corner nook of three intersecting streets, Elbo Room could just as easily refer to what is not available inside, considering the crowds that pack in for the venue's live music offerings...

Although named for its location at the corner nook of three intersecting streets, Elbo Room could just as easily refer to what is not available inside, considering the crowds that pack in for the venue’s live music offerings seven nights a week.

Beat up booths line the industrial gray brick walls on the ground floor, including one with an arcade classic built right into the table that ensures a round of beer often devolves into an extended tournament of Ms. Pac-Man till the wee hours.

Those who want a trip down memory lane can grab a spot at the bar, illuminated by bright red floodlights and decorated mostly by photographs of the rowdy patrons who have passed through since the venue’s early days in the 1980s.

Once the music starts, the rockers, hipsters, reggae buffs, and jazz lovers make their way to the small stage in the cocktail lounge, or head down a poster-plastered stairwell to the basement main stage, where the floor swarms with a diverse bunch of dedicated fans as varied as the music.

Vinyl couches and booths scattered around a second bar provide shadowy hideouts for couples and friends looking to escape the sweaty revelry, though most of the music lovers prefer to elbow their way into the fray in front of the stage.

A great place to get a taste of the city’s incredible music scene, Elbo Room is a prime choice for music buffs, whether they want to chill out to some quieter tunes or rock out to the blasting beats of a band.

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Tip from Jonah:

If you’re on the first floor taking a breather, grab the booth to the right of the small stage. You get a great view of the acoustic act and of a TV by the bar, which broadcasts a live feed of the band downstairs.

  • Crowd

    Indie and underground rockers, grungy hipsters, jazz and reggae lovers, and varied music enthusiasts, early 20s to early 40s.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Live original music nightly, including jazz, indie, rock, and reggae. Free board games available. Old-school arcade game.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Frozen pizza. ATM. Free charging station for cell phones.

  • Prices

    Cover charge usually $7–$10+. Frozen pizza $10. Beer $1.50–$18, wine $7, mixed drinks $5–$10, shots $3–$6.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Rocker, indie, and hipster casual: flannel and plaid button-downs, ripped jeans, band shirts, blouses, studded belts, lots of Converse.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays for the biggest and rowdiest crowds.

  • Close By

    Beat Kitchen (2100 West Belmont Avenue) features live music and comedy acts and a diverse American menu.

Elbo Room User Reviews

Average rating:
Good Mix of Live Music
Maria S. Feb 26, 2013
This spot has a chill vibe, with music offerings on two floors. The night I visited Rock and Roll was played on the lower floor. Upstairs indie was played and switched to Club/House later in the night. Elbo Room is a small venue that grants listeners the opportunity to hang out with the artists and to enjoy some new talent's musical stylings. Plus there is a cool pacman table by the entrance.
Great Place To See A Friend's Concert
Billy K. Dec 17, 2012
Elbo Room is one of those places that reminds you what good live music should sound and feel like. If you aren't into music, stay on the first floor. Most of the people performing at Elbo will probably be people you haven't heard of, but I went their for a friend's concert and it was great. The place is big enough for a decent-sized crowd to fit into, but small enough to make it feel intimate. This place is a reminder of the countless stops famous rock bands had to stop at before they hit it big. That being said, you feel like you're in a time-machine of sorts. You might even feel like you're in a really fun level of the video game Rock Band.
Live, Local Music as it should be
Chris M. Nov 27, 2012
Elbo Room is a solid Lakeview dive bar upstairs and a gritty live rock venue downstairs that you need to check out if you are into music and can probably skip otherwise. I have never seen anyone that I have heard of at Elbo Room, and most bands I never hear from again but a few will get their start here and then start showing up around the city. If Elbo Room was in NYC it would probably be a legendary venue but it exists on the fringes of the Chicago scene. There are shows basically every night and the talent is not always amazing but they are usually 100% into the music, and that's what matters. Time and money is not spent on the decor and atmosphere and that is what makes the atmosphere so good. It doesn't look, smell, or feel clean but it feels real so give it a chance. If you do not like discovering new music or listening to bands that you don't know, then you won't enjoy it but for those on the bleeding edge of music discovery, Elbo Room is the place to be.
An adult dose of Chicago's gritty Rock n' Roll scene.
Parker D. Sep 27, 2012
When this place spreads her legs the soul of the Chicago's Rock n Roll music scene is bared for all to see. Whether or not you're ready for such a sight however is another matter all together. Dirty vinyl booths and tattooed bartenders welcome you as you make your way downstairs to the live room where the smell of booze and sweat immediately overwhelm the senses. If you can see past the massive load bearing pole that is directly in front of the stage you're likely to catch some of the cities best up and coming rockers. Everyone in the place is cool and there to eat and drink up the music so what the it lacks in decor it makes up for in charm and personality. The knock on the place is that the booking agent tends to give some bands a shot who may not have earned it. Thus very likely somewhere on the bill there's a real stinker band who figured out a way to rally up their 25 drunkest friends and throw up in your ears as part of their big night out. Ultimately though what makes this place so reflective of the city is this very shortcoming: Sure not all of it's pretty, but it's raw, real, and drenched with Chicago's no BS attitude towards it's Rock n Roll. Order the shot and beer combo and buckle up.
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