Best Spot for Hyper-Curated DJ Nights

Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar

Critics' Picks

Joe Bryl has been at it for a while. Not only has he been a prolific Chicago DJ since 1981, he was the co-owner and mastermind behind the eclectically programmed and now-defunct Sonotheque in Noble Square (since transformed into Beauty Bar). Currently, among a grab bag of other gigs, he's the musical director at Maria's in Bridgeport, the tucked-away craft-cocktail-and-beer bar that got a healthy facelift in 2010 when Lumpen's Ed Marszewski took the reins as manager. And with that facelift, Marszewski, whom Bryl describes as being "very open to left field," indulged and encouraged some out-there curation. Focusing more on rock subgenres than he did at Sonotheque, Bryl has hosted and collaborated on nights like "Sound & Vision: Kraftwerk and the Electronic Revolution" and "Histoire de Melody Gainsbourg: The Music of Serge Gainsbourg" and "Oblique Strategies: The Music of Brian Eno." Often accompanied by screenings of rare music videos or films—Bryl describes himself as a kind of self-taught film historian—some programs hit the mark, while others might fail to draw much of a crowd into the cozy space. But the best part is that doesn't even seem to matter.


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