Tuesday, Sep. 30, 2008

2. Reggie's Rock Club and Record Breakers

Here's one of the best things about Reggie's Rock Club in the South Loop: If you're not into a set or who you're with, just walk up a couple flights to Record Breakers, a huge record store where you can snag not only new releases, but everything from an Eartha Kitt album and Minor Threat 45s to Rocky and The X-Files on laserdisc. In the rock-and-roll-heavenly reading room, there are old issues of KISS Magazine, tear-out Rolling Stones photo books and imported Zappa and John Cale session recordings from the '60s. And you can listen to anything you want. The downside of the Reggie's experience is that you may be drunk, and so psyched about your finds, that you spend all your money. (Don't ask how we would know that.) But it's an appropriate place to pick up a jazz album, as the South Loop corridor was once a hotbed of clubs — like The Shrine, a hip-hop concert venue and nightclub frequented by Questlove, producer and drummer for The Roots.

Back downstairs, there's also Reggie's Music Joint, a restaurant and bar across the hall from Reggie's Rock Club, which is a second place to listen to live acts — did we mention this complex is 16,000 sq. ft.? — while you eat, drink or watch one of 17 plasma TVs. The comfort-food menu is printed on a record sleeve with a real vinyl tucked inside (Hall & Oates, anyone?).