Schubas Tavern

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One of the most inviting small music rooms in the city, this Lakeview spot puts all the elements together to great effect: excellent sound, intimate environs, and a music-centric atmosphere music fans can appreciate. Offering a mixed bag of live music -- rock, folk, country (straight-up or insurgent), funk, even mariachi -- the bands range in quality and stature, from up-and-coming local acts with strong followings to nationally known acts loyal to Schubas for help on the way up. The room is small enough to ensure fans are never far from the action on the raised stage (crowds max out between 125 and 175 people), and the audience format can be extremely intimate depending on the music style and the draw. The club sometimes sells reserved seating, but mostly its standing general admission. If you're not interested in the music, you set up camp in the tavern outside the music room and choose from an impressive array of tap and bottled beer. (Schubas was originally built around the turn of the century as one of the Schlitz Brewery tap houses, and they bow to tradition by offering Schlitz in bottles.) In late '96, Schubas broke through the walls to the building next door and added a dining room decorated with folk art and stained glass windows called the Harmony Grill, which serves a variety of appetizers, hearty sandwiches, thin-crust pizzas and an eclectic selection of entrees. The music room -- occasionally outfitted with a big screen projection television -- is also a good place to catch championship sporting events and Bears games.