The Other Side is a brand-new alcohol-free bar and music venue | Bleader

The Other Side is a brand-new alcohol-free bar and music venue


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Party lightly.
  • Courtesy of
  • Party lightly.
Not a lot of notable shit has come out of my hometown of Crystal Lake. I can probably list all of it on one hand, actually: 90s pop-punk band Smoking Popes are from there; I had chemistry class with Scott Olsen, an MLB pitcher who's racked up a number of suspensions and a DUI. A girl who graduated from my high school went on to become a porn star known as Tawnee Stone. I also went to high school with a finalist from the first season of American Idol, which I'll bet you don't remember anything about. That's about it.

But now the city is making headlines, even getting a hilarious mention on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night, for being home to a brand-new bar and venue called the Other Side. And it's a sober bar.

I know, I know, the idea of going to a rock show and not getting Michael Anthony-level wasted might fall into the "What's the point?" category of your brain, but not everyone has that luxury. The founders of the bar—Chris Reed, a 22-year-old recovering heroin addict, and three friends also in recovery—wanted a place where they could go out late, socialize, see music, and party. The Other Side is part of New Directions Addiction Recovery Services, a nonprofit based in McHenry Country that sets up events and recovery networks for troubled young people.

The Other Side isn't anything cheesy like an all-ages club. It's going to be a regular venue, except without the stuff that attracts most people to bars in the first place. They're not going to preach or host meetings or support groups—it's just a safe, fun environment for people who live a substance-free life—but any money they make will go to support addiction recovery. You don't need to be a recovering addict to go, though, and the bar welcomes patrons as young as 17.

The Other Side will open on Saturday, April 27, at 93 E. Berkshire Dr., unit G, in Crystal Lake. Future shows and other events are currently being booked.

Luca Cimarusti writes about local music on Thursday.