WBEZ | Smart Bar http://www.wbez.org/tags/smart-bar Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Love in this club: An etiquette guide to Chicago nightlife http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-08/love-club-etiquette-guide-chicago-nightlife-108447 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/deadmau5%20at%20Studio%20Paris%20Chicago.jpg" style="height: 399px; width: 620px; " title="DJ deadmau5 performs at Studio Paris, summer 2012. (Flick/Ross Images)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">At the risk of sounding like <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIkaBwR8W14" target="_blank">Stefon</a>, Chicago&#39;s hottest club is...someplace unexpected. Maybe you&#39;re not a &quot;club person,&quot; but serendipitously find yourself dancing the night away at Danny&#39;s and having the time of your life. Perhaps your loyalty lies with Enclave or The Apartment, but a <a href="http://community-bar.com/?s=secret+disco" target="_blank">&quot;Secret Disco&quot;</a> DJ set at Maria&#39;s Packaged Goods &amp; Community Bar takes you by surprise.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p>Of course, the options for dance-y bars and clubs in Chicago are seemingly endless&mdash;Smart Bar, The Mid, Roscoe&#39;s, Studio Paris, Neo, Berlin, Spy Bar, Rainbo Club,&nbsp;Late Bar, Club Foot, The Shrine, Beauty Bar, etc.&mdash;and the crowds differ in personality from one neighborhood to the next. But whether you&#39;re out in Bridgeport or Boystown, River North or Ukranian Village, objectives stabilize at a universal constant: drink, dance like there&#39;s no tomorrow, and find somebody with which to do both of these things in very close proximity (and then some).&nbsp;</p><p>I&#39;ve seen the heady combination of alcohol, dubstep and strobe lights bring out the worst in people; but regardless of whatever form your music-and-dancing adventure may take, the experience doesn&#39;t have to be a painful one. In fact, grooving to Prince or Avicii in the blast of expertly-timed lazers and fog machines could become your new favorite way to spend an <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-02/everybody-gets-down-sustaining-appeal-smart-bar-105676" target="_blank">anything goes</a>&nbsp;kind of night.&nbsp;</p><p>So, for those wanting to make the most of Chicago&#39;s vibrant and eclectic club scene, here&#39;s some tips for enjoying your night out while also a) respecting the people around you, and b) creating a safety zone of guilt-free escapism for youself:&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Be nice to the bouncers.</strong></p><p>The Golden Rule is a great life philosophy in general; but if applied to bouncers, could produce some immediate karmic wins. When told to form a line, agree with a smile. Cutting to the front or loudly complaining about the wait will not get you anywhere; in fact, behaving like an arrogant jerk could get you thrown out or even blacklisted (trust me: they <em>will</em> remember you for making a scene). Remember that bouncers have a job to do; and if you make that job easier for them, then you will be rewarded.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Tip well.</strong></p><p>I get the impression that bouncers, bartenders, and other bar staff are not particularly thrilled about serving hundreds of drunk clubgoers at 2 a.m. on a Saturday morning, so above-average tips often go a long way. Other simple courtesies, like knowing which shots you would like to order&nbsp;<em>before</em>&nbsp;flagging down a bartender, could result in both quicker service and stiffer drinks.&nbsp;</p><p><b>Respect personal space.</b></p><p>Obviously, staying out of personal &quot;bubbles&quot; can be bit difficult in a packed crowd with little room to breathe, let alone maintain a modest distance.&nbsp;Most club layouts are also specifically designed to squeeze as many sweaty, lustful people together as possible, whether they be out on the dance floor or waiting in the halls. Still, no matter how uncomfortably close you are to the people around you, there is no excuse for being the <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Grind" target="_blank">phantom grinder</a>: the person who creeps up behind an unsuspecting stranger and starts grinding without their permission. If you want to dance with someone, <em>ask</em>&mdash;or at least make some &quot;How about it?&quot; eye contact.&nbsp;If someone is grinding up against you without your consent, either turn around and call them out for being creepy or casually shuffle away.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Wear your dancing shoes.</strong></p><p>Some people can dance all night in high heels without tripping constantly, and that&#39;s awesome. If you are not one of those people, swallow your pride and wear flats. And if you don&#39;t want to be mercilessly stabbed by stilettos on the dance floor, make sure that those flats are closed-toed.</p><p><b>Find the best fit for you, and embrace it.&nbsp;</b></p><p>Do you enjoy EDM (house music, techno, trance, hardstyle, etc.) or would you rather dance to cheesy throwbacks like Madonna and Depeche Mode? Perhaps you prefer mosh-dancing to punk shows at the Empty Bottle, or hanging out in dive bars with no dancing at all.&nbsp;Not everyone enjoys busting a move on the dance floor; but if you&#39;ve never experienced the diversity that Chicago&#39;s club scene has to offer, then what&#39;s the harm in finding a slice of nightlife that works for you? Be a friend to whichever bar or dance club you choose, and the magical nights will follow.</p><p>What is your favorite place for music and dancing in Chicago?&nbsp;</p><p><em>Leah Pickett is a pop culture writer and co-host of WBEZ&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774?mt=2">Changing Channels,</a>&nbsp;a podcast about the future of television. Follow Leah on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a>&nbsp;and<a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">&nbsp;Tumblr</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 20 Aug 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-08/love-club-etiquette-guide-chicago-nightlife-108447 Everybody gets down: On the sustaining appeal of Smart Bar http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-02/everybody-gets-down-sustaining-appeal-smart-bar-105676 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/138427143_2dc1c3e82c_z.jpg" title="(Flickr/Chad Magiera)" /></p><p>I was born five years after <a href="http://smartbarchicago.com/"><strong>Smart Bar</strong></a>. I say this not to elicit shock, but to point out this Chicago establishment&#39;s success. Situated underneath the Metro, Smart Bar opened in 1982 and just recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. But to me, Smart Bar will always be a newly minted 21-year-old, all bright-eyed and energetic. It&rsquo;ll always be there for a good time &ndash; or a weird time. And even if you, too, are no longer as young as you feel, Smart Bar will welcome you with no judgment. Truly great places always do.</p><p>This late-night venue, open until 5 a.m. on the weekends, is an institution. It is important for what it has provided in the past &ndash; the bands, the DJ sets &ndash; but also for what it continues to provide right now. I didn&rsquo;t think I would ever hear Joy O, one of my favorite young producers, in Chicago. And then he came here, and he played at Smart Bar. Because of course he did.</p><p>As a genre, electronic music continues to grow. And while Smart Bar stays focused on its core genres (house, techno, drum &amp; bass), it also acts as an outlet for progressive and experimental sounds, music the venue describes as, &ldquo;that future-bassy-techy stuff that can&#39;t really be classified.&rdquo; Smart Bar&#39;s Facebook page proclaims, &ldquo;Whoever is DJing is pretty important. You should find out who they are if you don&#39;t already know.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>Smart Bar survives and still feels fresh. Or rather, it never seemed &ldquo;un-fresh&rdquo; to me. Smart Bar gave &ndash; and gives &ndash;&nbsp;names for new and old fans of the venue, never seeming contrite, always getting &ldquo;it&rdquo; (the sounds, the movements, the genres, the passions) right.</p><p>It&#39;s not just that Smart Bar is dark and loud. There are a lot of places that fit that criteria. Sometimes the crowd itself is hit or miss. No, Smart Bar&rsquo;s appeal lies in what it can provide for each patron: sensory overdrive. It is everything all at once. And it is everything with the knowledge that very few places in the city can provide this &nbsp;time and time again.&nbsp;</p><p>I live miles away and yet I&rsquo;ve spent more time at Smart Bar in recent weeks than I have in bars just down the block from my apartment. I&rsquo;ve seen the doormen and the bartenders more times than I have the women who are supposed to be my closest friends. A few weeks ago, I went to the bar to hear a set from Montreal-based producer Jacques Greene. I attended the set with some friends, but we lost each other for large swaths of time and more often than not, I was alone in a sea of bodies there to hear and experience something special.</p><p>I stood again on the dance floor a week later for another set. It was a Thursday evening and I had work the next day, but that mattered little to me. A night out at Smart Bar is not merely a choice of staying out late. It is a choice to be around like-minded souls eager to lose themselves in the freedom of the dance floor. If a dance club is an escape from the outside world, then Smart Bar is the best, providing sounds that are both unique and homegrown, weird and classic, feral and soothing.</p><p>If Chicago is the city that works, then what works here is the filling of the void. We need Smart Bar as much as Smart Bar needs us. Without this relationship, it&#39;s unlikely the venue would survive as it has, and appeal to generations young and old as it has.&nbsp;</p><p>In volume one of literary journal <a href="http://motherwelljournal.org/index.html"><em>Motherwell</em></a>, artist Karthik Pandian wrote an essay on the appeal &ndash; the necessity, even &ndash; of the dance floor. He wrote:</p><blockquote><p><em>Precisely because it is a milieu in which aesthetic, political and sexual relationships are enacted by a mass of subjects and not simply theorized, the club is a microcosm of society. And yet, because these social bodies assemble into a dynamic visual, musical, spatial, kinetic and even poetic montage, the club is a kind of living, total work of art in its own right. Far from eternal, it is a necessarily temporary unity itself composed of countless unpredictable aesthetic and bodily unities and dispersions.</em></p></blockquote><p>Places like Smart Bar provide a necessary escape from the world. This escape is not a means to ignore the reality of the world, with all of its hardships and frustrations. Rather, it&#39;s an outlet for self-care and emotional preservation. It&#39;s a necessary break, one in which the euphoria of the dance floor and the driving rhythms and deep bass mimic the beating of one&rsquo;s heart. Smart Bar &ndash; and the dance floor by extension &ndash; is a place that feels real and necessary. Pandian writes, &ldquo;it is almost as if, in the production of new times, the nightclub incidentally and fleetingly burns off the old.&rdquo; It is a temporary place for the individual, a communal space of like-minded souls in need of everything it can provide: heart, hope, and healing.&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 22 Feb 2013 09:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-02/everybody-gets-down-sustaining-appeal-smart-bar-105676 Chicagoans search the dial for alternative music as Q101 goes to talk http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-01/chicagoans-search-dial-alternative-music-q101-goes-talk-89899 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-August/2011-08-01/Q101.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago has been a significant breeding ground for all kinds of music, from gospel to improvised jazz--and so it was with alternative rock. The genre was huge in Chicago and the FM radio station <a href="http://q101.com/" target="_blank">Q101</a> was at the epicenter. But now, almost 20 years since the alternative rock explosion, record sales are down and alternative is no longer the relevant cultural or artistic category.</p><p>Sunday, Q101, "Chicago’s alternative," officially changed to an all-news format. That switch came after former <a href="http://www.tribune.com/" target="_blank">Tribune Company</a> executive <a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/chicago-media-blog/14821755/q101-loop-deal-blows-randy-michaels-back-into-radio-busines" target="_blank">Randy Michaels</a> purchased the station in June. Brooke Hunter, a DJ at the station during its alternative-rock heyday, and Joe Shanahan, owner of <a href="http://metrochicago.com/" target="_blank">Metro</a> and <a href="http://www.smartbarchicago.com/" target="_blank">Smart Bar</a> in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood, joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> to talk about the glory days of Q101 and the future of alternative music.</p></p> Mon, 01 Aug 2011 14:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-01/chicagoans-search-dial-alternative-music-q101-goes-talk-89899 DJ Series: DJ Nate Manic brings his mix out of Smart Bar http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-13/dj-series-dj-nate-manic-brings-his-mix-out-smart-bar-86500 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-May/2011-05-13/nate_manic.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Nate Seider goes by <a href="http://www.smartbarchicago.com/residents/index.html#nate" target="_blank">Nate Manic</a> when he’s at the turntables. In addition to his own mixes, he’s also the person that selects the DJs who spin at one of Chicago’s long-standing dance clubs: <a href="http://www.smartbarchicago.com/" target="_blank">Smart Bar</a>. He’s also the Talent Buyer and Music Director for the club. He performed in studio for <em>Eight Forty-Eight's</em> <a href="http://www.wbez.org/DJ" target="_blank"><em>DJ Series: A Spinning Season</em></a>.<br> <br> On Saturday, May 14, he'll host a birthday bash at Smart Bar that will feature special guest DJs Lady Foursquare, Mazi and Derrick Carter.</p></p> Fri, 13 May 2011 14:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-13/dj-series-dj-nate-manic-brings-his-mix-out-smart-bar-86500 DJ Series: Lady Foursquare emerges from underground http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-02-25/dj-series-lady-foursquare-emerges-underground-82971 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//Picture 059.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Marea Stamper has been involved in the Midwest&rsquo;s underground rave and dance scene since her early teens. That&rsquo;s a world that kind of skirts around the edges of the law. Though ravers face unsympathetic legislators and police, Stamper says she&rsquo;ll continue to fight &ndash; and spin &ndash; for your right and hers &ndash; to party! Plus to dance and to play great music!<br /><br />She often DJs under the moniker <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lady-Foursquare/44074067061" target="_blank">Lady Foursquare</a>. Saturday,&nbsp;Feb. 26 she&rsquo;ll throw down a <em>legal </em>set at <a href="http://www.smartbarchicago.com/index.html" target="_blank">Smart Bar</a> in Chicago. She spun for <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> all hour long, helping the show get its rave on and she joined host Alison Cuddy to share a little more about her story and her music.<br /><br />Underground artist Lady Foursquare and her <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Trustus/198426373491" target="_blank">Trustus crew</a> play Thursday nights at <a href="http://www.downtownbarandlounge.com/" target="_blank">Downtown Bar and Lounge</a> on N. State St. in Chicago. Stamper produces her original compositions under the moniker, <a href="http://soundcloud.com/theblackmadonna" target="_blank">The Black Madonna</a>.</p><p><strong>Lady Foursquare's Mini-Set:</strong><br />Roy Davis Jr. &amp; Thomas Bangalter, &quot;Rock Shock&quot; (Thomas Bangalter remix), Rock Shock 12&quot;<br />Thomas Bangalter, &quot;Spinal Beats&quot;, Spinal Scratch 12&quot;<br />The Black Madonna, &quot;From the Narrow Between&quot;, unreleased<br />The Black Madonna, &quot;We Can Never Be Apart&quot;, unreleased</p></p> Fri, 25 Feb 2011 14:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-02-25/dj-series-lady-foursquare-emerges-underground-82971 DJ Series: DJ and producer Ron Trent brings the beats http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-02-04/dj-series-dj-and-producer-ron-trent-brings-beats-81772 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//Picture 039.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Music courses through <a href="http://www.rontrent.com/" target="_blank">Ron Trent&rsquo;s</a> body like blood through veins. His father was a DJ so it&rsquo;s not surprising that he grew up to be a DJ and music producer himself. Ron was still in his teens when he cut what became his first club hit, &quot;Altered States.&quot; Ever since he&rsquo;s been a mainstay of the music world.<br /><br />DJ Ron Trent provided the sounds for <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> all hour long as part of the DJ Series, and he joined host Alison Cuddy for a sit-down to dig a little deeper into his personal history and art.&nbsp;</p><p>Trent spins at <a href="http://www.smartbarchicago.com/index.html" target="_blank">Smart Bar</a> in Wrigleyville on the first Wednesday of every month and at the <a href="http://www.crocodilechicago.com/" target="_blank">Crocodile Lounge</a> in Wicker Park every second and fourth Thursday of the month.</p><p><strong>DJ Ron Trent's Mini-Set:</strong><br />Erykah Badu, &quot;Honey&quot;, <em>New Amerykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War</em> (Motown)<br />Chaz Jankel, &quot;Glad To Know You&quot;, <br />Ron Trent, &quot;Hooked On Your Love&quot;, <em>Dance Classic</em> (Prescription Records)<br />Tamara Wellons, &quot;Smells Like Teen Spirit&quot;, <em>Life Is</em> (Ocha Records)</p></p> Fri, 04 Feb 2011 14:56:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-02-04/dj-series-dj-and-producer-ron-trent-brings-beats-81772 DJ Series: Chris Widman brings future music to the masses http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/%5Bfield_program_ref-title-raw%5D/dj-series-chris-widman-brings-future-music-masses <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//Picture 009_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Finding a host to turn the tables in this week's <a href="http://www.wbez.org/DJ"><em>DJ Series</em></a> wasn't all that hard. Chris Widman&rsquo;s just down the radio dial at WBEZ's former sister station, <a href="http://www.wluw.org">WLUW</a>. There he co-hosts <a href="http://abstractscience.net/" target="_blank"><em>Abstract Science</em></a>, a weekly blend of electronic music he describes as &quot;future music.&quot; When he's not behind the community radio microphone, he's out in the clubs - either hovering over a turntable or a computer. His music tastes range far and wide, but he told <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> about his taste for glitch and dub step.<br /><br /><em>Abstract Science</em> airs Thursday nights on WLUW at 10.</p><p>Saturday, Widman will spin at <a href="http://www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/calendar/index.html#printpalooza" target="_blank">Printapalooza</a> which will take place at the Block Museum at Northwestern University.</p><p>His next regular Subfix residency is Thursday, Feb 10 at <a href="http://www.smartbarchicago.com/" target="_blank">Smart Bar</a>.&nbsp; He's also one half of the electronic group, <a href="http://quadraticmusic.net/" target="_blank">Quadratic</a>.<br /><br /><strong>DJ Chris Widman's Mini-Set:</strong><br />Bill Murray, &quot;Dali Lama caddy monolog&quot;<br />Reso, &quot;Identity&quot; (Civil Music)<br />Matt U, &quot;Compass&quot; (Biscuit Factory)<br />Luke Vibert, &quot;Swet&quot;, Chicago, Detroit, Redruth (Planet Mu)<br />Quadratic, &quot;Padded Life&quot; (unreleased)<br /><em><br /></em></p></p> Fri, 28 Jan 2011 16:52:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/%5Bfield_program_ref-title-raw%5D/dj-series-chris-widman-brings-future-music-masses