Reggie’s: Where Chicagoans Eat, Drink, and Rock Out!

By: Dana Ragazinskas

Talk about sticking out like a sore thumb! Reggie’s doesn’t blend in very well with its surroundings, and we would bet that’s exactly what the owners were going for when they built this place. Reggie’s Music Joint, located on 21st and State (near the South Side), is a bar and grill, music venue, and record store all in one! If that doesn’t scream unconventional then we don’t know what does!

Welcome to Reggie's!

Reggie’s is divided into three separate buildings, Reggie’s Music Joint, Reggie’s Rock Club, and Reggie’s Record Breakers. All three buildings are connected to one another, yet serve different purposes.  Let’s take a closer look at all three of these places so you’ll know what to expect when you get there. You will also be able to know where to go for exactly what you’re looking for!

Tables in Reggie's Music Joint

Reggie’s Music Joint is the place to go if you’re looking to grab a bite to eat and drink a couple of beers.  It’s a 21 and older bar and grill that has live music nightly. If you’re not into live music, come in early before it starts and grab lunch. The atmosphere is very casual and laidback, almost like you’re hanging out in a garage or basement with some friends. The walls are heavily decorated with sport artifacts, music posters, and pictures. There is a stage located in the back and 17 flat screen TVs! There is plenty of seating with options to sit at the bar, the tables alongside the walls, or the ridiculously long picnic tables in the center of the room. The bathrooms are definitely a site to see; the women’s bathroom is completely made out of chalkboards! Find a piece of chalk, get creative, and leave your mark! It’s fun to just look at, like a giant piece of public art.

Bathrooms in Reggie's Music Joint

The bar, being very large, is stocked with 95 beers (70 in bottles or cans and 25 on tap) and a list of vodkas, tequilas, and whiskeys. So drink up and drink responsibly! Be sure to check out the menu as well. Their menu is loaded with tasty bar food that goes perfectly with a nice cold beer! Some of the things you can find on the menu are tacos, hamburgers, chicken wings, nachos, and TV dinners. Yes, TV dinners, and the menu goes on. There are also daily “eat-in only” specials that come only with a drink purchase. So eat up and enjoy!

Grab a Menu!

Reggie’s Rock Club is definitely for all you music lovers out there. This is a 17 and older concert venue, equipped with a huge stage, and there’s not a bad seat in the house.  This area of Reggie’s is also very casual, giving off that outdoorsy vibe, like being in your neighbor’s backyard or garage. The stage and walls resemble an old building, covered in bricks and old stone, adding to the outdoor look. There are fenced in decks overlooking the stage, walls covered in graffiti as a creative backdrop, and colorful bright lights shining down towards the stage. Performances are scheduled ahead of time, so check their website regularly to see whose playing next and how much the tickets are!

Reggie's Rock Club

Finally we have Reggie’s Record Breakers. This part of Reggie’s is the perfect finish to their music related theme. Reggie’s Record Breaker is a music store that is said to have started it all! Here you can find new and used CDs, records, DVDs, t-shirts, posters, and the list goes on! They will even buy CDs, DVDs, and vinyl records from you. You can also buy concert tickets for the shows at Reggie’s Rock Club, without getting hit with that service charge we all hate when buying them online. This is a really cool looking record store, very similar to the Rock Club and the Music Joint, adding a vintage feel with all the old records and old music memorabilia.

Reggie's Record Breakers: Shop & Rock!

It’s a Local Thing talked to a Reggie’s regular, Colleen, because as a Chicago local herself, she would have an opinion worth hearing. Colleen raves about this place saying “I love Reggie’s, I feel like I come here way too much! The food is great, the bar is cool, and I love looking through all the old records. There’s something here for everyone. You also can’t beat dollar tacos on Mondays either, they’re so good!” We asked her what she would tell someone who hasn’t been to Reggie’s before and she said that she recommends coming in to eat and have a few drinks with friends at Reggie’s Music Joint first, and to not leave Reggie’s without hitting their music store. She also recommended trying their wings because they’re said to be the best in town!
For more information about Reggie’s food, live music, concerts, or store, check it all out for yourself or hit up their website!

Our Mark on the Chalkboard Bathroom Walls!

Photo Credit: Reggie’s Website & Dana Ragazinskas (first and last photo)

Simone’s: Where “Unconventional” & “Going Green” Meet Over Drinks

By: Dana Ragazinskas

It doesn’t get any more unconventional than this! Simone’s is bursting at the seams with unique characteristics. Simone’s is definitely unlike any bar I’ve been to before, so it has become my all time favorite spot to eat and drink. This is not a place you can only visit once! After reading this, I’m sure you’ll fall in love with Simone’s just as I did! You can find Simone’s in the Pilsen neighborhood, right on the corner of 18th and Morgan, open every day from 11:30am to 2:00am, with daily food and drink specials.  This area is quiet yet full of personality.  It’s closeness to University Village and art galleries are just two factors that create this personable feel. No place in the Pilsen area is quite like Simone’s, and I think that’s what makes it so attractive to the locals in the area.

The Front Bar of Simone’s

Simone’s is a unique bar and grill, owned by Russ Grant, his wife Desiree, and their partner Michael Noone. They opened Simone’s on February 13th of 2009, making it fairly new to the Chicago scene. How do we know the exact date they opened? Marc, one of the managers, happened to be at Simone’s when It’s a Local Thing stopped by to grab a bite to eat, and chatted with us for a moment. “We are getting ready to celebrate our two year anniversary, which is kind of exciting”, Marc said as he filled our glasses with water. He took a moment to fill us in on the history of Simone’s, and gave us a few in depth descriptions of the design and artwork.

He started by telling us that one of the owners, Desiree, wanted to name this place Simone’s not only because it was her favorite name, but because it sounded mysterious and international. We would have to agree with Desiree on this one, Simone is a very intriguing name, and it seems to fit the personality of the bar quite well. “There were two main designers/architects that were behind the concept and design of Simone’s, and they are also responsible for the hand painted wallpaper in the bathrooms“, Marc continued, as we listened and looked around at all the extreme details that went into this place. “Our bars’ counter tops are made out of old bowling alley lanes, with handrails that are made out of old conveyor belts from a candy factory that closed down.” He also showed us the vintage pinball machines that were hanging from the ceiling as artwork. Marc pointed out to us that the glass doors used to separate their front bar from their back bar are the executive office doors from VBBM-TV, with the company name still preserved on the glass.

The Coolest Chandelier & “The Lab” (Simone’s Back Bar)

It’s a Local Thing sat in the back half of the bar, which Marc called “The Lab”. “The back bar, which we call ‘The Lab’, is made almost entirely out of material from an old high school that closed down called Westing House High School. As you can see, the tables are the student’s old desks, in which we kept their writing and graffiti on them for character”, he explained as he pointed out all the old chemistry equipment behind the bar. Beakers, test tubes, and burners decorate the bar area, surrounding an old chalk board that stands as a centerpiece. Last but not least, he informed us about the weird, yet beautiful chandelier hanging over our heads. The chandelier was created by the artist Davide, and is made entirely out of washing machine parts and other old junk yard material. This is definitely unlike your typical chandelier. We were happy Marc was able to share all this with us before he had to run off and get back to work.

Womens Bathroom at Simone’s
After our visit at Simone’s, we came across an interesting fact on their website that Marc had left out! Simone’s is a certified green restaurant! You might be asking yourself, what the heck does that mean? Well, all that stuff Marc said about getting used and old material to create Simone’s actually has a bigger purpose then just looking really cool. When a restaurant, like Simone’s is a certified green restaurant, it means that it meets the criteria for being an environmentally responsible operation. So not only does Simone’s look really awesome, it’s also helping the environment, one piece of furniture at a time! This place is incredible! You really have to see it all for yourself. Be sure to check out the graffiti on the walls, the fireplace lounge section, and the fenced in pinball DJ booth that looks over the front bar. You’ll also find different paintings and photographs from local artists on all the walls. If you see something you like, all paintings and artwork are available for purchasing.

 

Street View of Simone’s & a Cool Pinball Machine on the Wall

 

The afternoons at Simone’s tend to be rather quiet, only having a small crowd. At night you can enjoy a live DJ and grab a few beers with friends. The casual atmosphere attracts both people in their twenties and thirties. The local crowd grows during the night hours, so if you’re looking to just casually check it out, come during the afternoon and grab a bite to eat. When It’s a Local Thing stopped by Simone’s, it was around 1:00pm and it was surprisingly crowded! We found out later that there was a trivia tournament going on, which was kind of exciting and fun to watch! Although a trivia tournament doesn’t happen often, Simone’s does have regular bar trivia that is free to join. So if that sounds like something you would be interested in, check their website regularly to find out what days their having trivia night. We enjoyed our time at Simone’s eating lunch, talking to Marc and with our waitress as well! We asked our waitress what she liked best about working at Simone’s, and she eagerly answered with, “The staff! Everyone here is awesome, and we all get along really well. I think us getting along well and working together effortlessly, gives Simone’s a pleasant atmosphere! Not to mention this place just looks really cool!” We agree with our waitress, Jen, completely! So get on over to Simone’s and enjoy some great food and great people! For more information in regard to food or drink specials, feel free to check out Simone’s Website.

 

When Old Desks Become Tables in “The Lab”

Location: 960 W 18th
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 666-8601
Photos taken by: Dana Ragazinskas

It might be spelled W-I-L-L-I-S, but It’s Pronounced Sears

A Look up at the Sear's Tower

 

Written and Photo Credit by: Anna Grimm

Did you hear about what happened on July 16, 2009?  For those of you who might have missed it, the Sears Tower was officially renamed the Willis Tower. When changing the name, I’m sure they thought big deal, who cares about the name, at least we didn’t knock it down, right? WRONG! I don’t know about you, but for us this news was hard to swallow.  So, you might be wondering who is responsible for the name change.  We would like to thank Willis Group Holding, a global insurance company based out of London, for ruining a Chicago tradition all the way from Europe!

We are all about traditions in Chicago, and that is what we’re known for!  Take the Cubs for example, they haven’t won a World Series in over hundred years, yet their loyal fans are still by their side and continue to show love for them.  I don’t know about you, but I’d say that is some serious Chicago tradition and commitment right there!  As Chicago locals, we’re  committed to the traditions of our city, and we like to stick with them because that’s what we know. So when this company decided to change the name of the most iconic building in our city, of course we were going to be upset about it!  It’s not just about the name change, it’s about the tradition that’s been changed with it.  A tradition that has been a part of our city for 35 years.

Change is difficult to deal with, even if it is only a name change of a historic building.  Maybe one day we will accept the Sears Tower as the Willis Tower, but for now we will still pronounce it as the Sears Tower.

Hello Chicago!

So you live in Chicago. Have you ever found yourself wondering what else is out there? Well, yeah…us too. And that’s probably why you’re here!  Welcome to the “solution” (cheesy, we know, but go with it). It’s here that you’ll find new ways to entertain yourself without falling into the typical mainstream Chicago activities. Who cares about The Bean or The Sears Tower? (You heard correctly…Sears). Leave those places for the tourists. Come along with us and see all of the places you’ve been missing! This city has a lot to offer, and we’ve found it! Well, not all of it. That’s where you come in! Let us know what even we’re missing! Found a rare place in Chicago that is worth looking into? Post it on our page and we will check it out ourselves and write about it! It’s like a “we help you and you help us” kind of deal. Together we’ll find all the interesting and new things to do in the city, so no local will ever go bored again! If you’re shy, email us at ALocalThing@gmail.com