19 Nov 2015
Designed by the team behind the Chicago Theatre (but built first) nearly 100 years ago, the Riv in Uptown is another former movie theatre for the Balaban & Katz chain. Since being converted in the mid-1980s, it has been one of the most successful midsize venues for rock concerts in the city (alongside the Metro, Vic, and Aragon), so chances are that you’ve begrudgingly watched a favorite band here among a sweaty crowd while you wished you were at a cozier club.
There’s plenty of history in the area—look no further than the historic Green Mill across the street—and you’ll be able to find good pre-show food, including the Ethiopian restaurant Demera. Other than seeing a big band, however, that’s the main upside, as the Riv usually comes off dirty and run down—and, of course, you’ll pay too much for bad beer if you want to drink. Watching from the floor can be a drag if you’re stuck under the balcony, as both sight and sound suffer. Unfortunately, the seated balcony isn’t necessarily much better, as the sound isn’t great and the quality of the seats themselves is hit or miss.
4746 N. Racine
Chicago, IL 60640
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