How strange a place this must seem to outsiders: though there’s a giant bowling pin on the marquee, good luck trying to bowl. Sure it’s got all the accoutrements of a bowling alley (balls, lanes, pins), but the Fireside acts as Chicago’s outlet to underage music fans, offering the pre-alcohol-buying set a place to see music without a fake ID. Though the venue started by booking almost exclusively punk rock, the last four years or so have seen the Fireside expand to include almost anything the kids want, from hip-hop to electro-wave to heavy metal. Rumors—and indeed newspaper stories—of the Fireside’s impending demise in the wake of the city’s park-expansion plans pronounced the venue dead around 2000. The Fireside may close someday, but for right now, it remains one of the few places for city kids to see live music.
2646 West Fullerton (773)486-2700
Best of Chicago 2002