As P!nk once said in her hit song God Is A DJ, “If God is a DJ, life is a dance floor/ Love is the rhythm, you are the music.” Lucky for us, Chicago is chock-full of incredible venues from smaller music stages to decked-out nightclubs. Here are the best places to see sets from DJs in our beloved city.
Lights, camera, techno! The Vic Theater is an overall amazing music venue right in the heart of Lakeview. The humbled halls first opened in 1912 as The Victoria Theater and have been graced by many star-studded acts from Bruce Springsteen to Australian DJ Hayden James, who just performed a riveting and engaging set this past weekend.
The venue holds an impressive crowd and is now known as a staple venue in the city. On a personal note, I’ve been to a few shows at this venue, and must say, everything is top-notch, from the acoustics to the artist selections, and more. I recently saw Hayden James perform at this iconic theater and it was beyond exciting. The energy in the crowd was electric. If you can, try to make it to a show!
Get tickets to a show here.
Address: 3145 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago, IL 60657
2. Beauty Bar
A built in DJ booth ensures this 60s style nightclub is bound to always be a hit. This location is an extra unique spot as they frequently host a Martinis and Manicures setup every Thursday through Saturday from 7PM until around 12AM. Bop along to the hottest hits as you sip on a martini and get your nails done. What could be better?
Since opening in 2010, this hot spot has become the place to be for a rousing good time. As far as events go, they host playful themed nights, like their Grrl Power set with DJs Chess Knight & Jena Nixon, and a Y2K throwback night. There’s also a weekly Emo vs Pop Punk night (on May 22nd) with Cool For One Night DJs and Trusty Chords DJs.
May 28th brings Another 90’s Party where patrons dress in their best throwback outfits, and DJs spin the greatest hits all night long. Check out the full event schedule here.
Address: 1444 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60642
3. Smart Bar
Known for hosting underground DJs, musicians and catering to the dance music world, Smart Bar is a premiere nightclub in Wrigley Field and has gained traction since its opening for hosting cutting edge acts. Frequently celebrating Chicagos rich dance music history, the venue itself presents like a swanky nightclub, complete with ambient lighting, a full bar, and show stopping sets. They also have an impressive lineup of performers like a set from DFA Take Over featuring James Murphy, Juan MacLean, Pat Mahoney, and Nancy Whang on May 27th, and Paranoid London, Justin Aulis Long and Sassmouth on June 3rd. The venue has been a Chicago staple for over 39 years and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. While I haven’t been able to attend a set here, it seems like an incredibly fun place to experience a memorable night.
Get tickets to a Smart Bar event here.
Address: 3730 N. Clark St. Chicago, IL 60613
FYI: I am not claiming to be a DJ expert, and while I’m sure there are many other great local places, these are the ones that stood out to me, a humble music fan. Remember: have fun!
[Featured photo from Jordan Muns]