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Chicago Band Pays Tribute to Empty Music Venues and Bars in Moving Video

Empty Bottle, Metro, Hungry Brain, and Reggie’s are among those featured

An empty stage with a drum kit.
Sleeping Village isn’t the same without people.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

A Chicago band, Varaha, has released a moving tribute to the city’s music venues, all of which have been suffering through the social-distancing era brought on by the public health crisis. The ensemble created a video with footage from venues like Empty Bottle in Ukrainian Village, Reggie’s in South Loop, and Cole’s in Logan Square. Normally, these bars are packed with music lovers, but for now, they’re empty. The band says it was trying to “impact people on an emotional level” while bringing awareness to lobbying efforts like Save Our Stages.

Groups like the National Independent Venue Association have advocated for these bars and small venues, which haven’t been able to host concerts during the pandemic. These aren’t venues dominated by promoters like Live Nation; they’re places like the Hideout Inn (which was threatened by the Lincoln Yards development), Hungry Brain in Avondale, and family-owned Rosa’s Lounge in Logan Square. All are vital to the fabric of the city’s culture while also serving as a fun spot to have a shot of malort and a beer.

Varaha’s Fabio Brienza tells Brooklyn Vegan that visiting these venues felt “eerie and powerful.” Most music-oriented bars haven’t been helped much by patios. Fitzgerald’s in Berwyn has been an exception thanks to a large space for outdoor seating in the suburbs. Green Mill, the well-known jazz bar in Uptown is taking advantage of extended seating onto Broadway and has partnered with Fiesta Mexicana for food service, according to Block Club Chicago.

Altogether, there are 17 venues featured in the video. Check out the list below:

Thalia Hall

1807 South Allport Street, , IL 60608 (312) 526-3851 Visit Website

Fiesta Mexicana

4806 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60640 (773) 769-4244 Visit Website

Liar’s Club

1665 West Fullerton Avenue, , IL 60614 Visit Website

Lincoln Hall

2424 N Lincoln Ave, , IL 60614 (773) 525-2501 Visit Website

Empty Bottle

1035 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 (773) 276-3600 Visit Website


1321 E 57th St, Chicago, IL 60637 (312) 219-6544 Visit Website

The Hideout

1354 West Wabansia Avenue, , IL 60642 (773) 227-4433 Visit Website

Sleeping Village

3734 West Belmont Avenue, , IL 60618 (773) 654-3971 Visit Website

Hungry Brain

2319 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60618 (773) 935-2118

Cafe Mustache

2313 North Milwaukee Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 687-9063 Visit Website