Gallery Cabaret

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The Gallery Cabaret is so much more than the simple dive it appears to be. It's also open-mike music, local jazz, blues and folk acts, weekly improv comedy and cheap beer. The decor hasn't changed since the mid-'70s, and seems to have originated in the middle-class finished basements of suburbia: paneled walls with anything and everything fastened to them, regardless of how tacky the result. Or perhaps the tackier the better. About three-quarters of a mile northwest of Wicker Park's main drag, in the sleepy, tree-shaded backwaters of Bucktown, the Gallery Cabaret is a slight venture off the beaten path. But the reward in local color and entertainment is more than worth it.