East Room says goodbye | Staff notes | Chicago Reader

Columns & Opinion » Staff notes

East Room says goodbye

A Chicago staple closes down


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe



y first long vacation of 2019 coincided with the final week of East Room, Logan Square's infamous speakeasy slash music venue slash 4 AM bar slash place where seemingly every other 20-something Chicagoan went in order to create cherished blurry memories they'd only half remember the next day. I arrived back in town Sunday morning before 2 AM, which I suppose meant that I could've spent that night waiting in line for East Room's final hurrah, hosted by the founders of streetwear shop Fat Tiger Workshop. They said goodbye by
 dusting off their defunct East Room series, Sundays with the Tigers; I didn't mind staying home, and caught up the following day via Instagram stories that showed a packed-out crowd and an impromptu performance by R&B star BJ the Chicago Kid.  

East Room announced its impending closure a little more than a week before that final evening, which prompted a deluge of tweets from Chicago's nightlife denizens. I held back, but not because I'm short on memories. I can still recall playing Jayaire Woods's "Man of the Year" off my iPhone during my DJ set for the Aux Cord series in January 2017 after someone requested I play Lil Yachty (he appears on the song, so I did fulfill  his request; people still left the dance floor in confusion). I just had a little  trouble fitting all my complicated feelings about a venue I'd only sporadically spent time in into a few tweets.
The Internet Album Release Party at East Room, July 2018 - KATER JAYNE
  • Kater Jayne
  • The Internet Album Release Party at East Room, July 2018
Regardless, I think it's important to point out in a little more than half a decade, East Room became a hub for a fascinating cross-section of subcultures. It was hardly the only bar on the tiny stretch of Milwaukee Avenue between California and Fullerton to host live performances or ace DJs, but you can be sure it was the only one that hosted Australian postpunk legends the Scientists, LA beat-scene hero Nosaj Thing, and footwork jester DJ Paypal, among so many others. And that's not to mention the local musicians who spent many a night at the space. East Room hosted garage-rock shows and house DJs, and became a focal point for the local hip-hop scene (it even played a small role in a brief musical back-and-forth between Vic Spencer and Mick Jenkins).

Yes, East Room is gone, but the communities it harbored remain, and will find new places to continue to grow. And I can't wait to see what happens next—and share it with you.

Leor  v 
Stefan Ponce with Hannibal Buress at Stefan Ponce Party at East Room, 2014 - COURTESY EAST ROOM
  • Courtesy East Room
  • Stefan Ponce with Hannibal Buress at Stefan Ponce Party at East Room, 2014
Foster the People at East Room, 2018 - KATER JAYNE
  • Kater Jayne
  • Foster the People at East Room, 2018
East Room interior - ROGER MORALES
  • Roger Morales
  • East Room interior

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →