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Hipster Travel Guide to Illinois

Suggestions, comments? Send them to me at evan @ trashytravel.com

Pictured right:
A must have chicago dog, topped with tomatoes, onion, mustard, Neon green relish, a whole pickle spear and sprinkled with celery salt in a steamed poppy seed bun.


As a college town, Champaign-Urbana has a few cool things going on.  First of all, they are home to PARASOL RECORDS, one of the best record shops around for indie music.  In fact, they are so good that they get a few items that stores in major cities don't have.  And their mail order department in incredibly efficient.  I have blown much money with them. 

The following information may not be up to date.  When possible, it is recommended that you phone ahead.

Barfly-120 N Neil St Champaign, IL 61820 (*added 10/01/04 as a "more current hipster bar" from a reader, along with Nargile below)
Esquire Lounge-106 N. Walnut, Champaign (217-398-5858)
Mike and Mollys-105 N. Walnut
Legends-522 East Green, Champaign
Murphys Pub-604 East Green, Ch (217-352-7275)
(they also serve food)

Nargile Lounge-hookah and hiphop nights-207 West Clark Street-Champaign, IL 61820

BAND CLUBS (updated 10/1/04)

Cowboy Monkey-6 Taylor Street, Champaign.
Highdive-51 Main, Champaign
Red Herring -
1209 W. Oregon Urbana, IL 61801- 217-344-1176
The Red Herring is located in the downstairs of the Channing-Murray Foundation. Part-time vegetarian restaurant, and part-time concert venue. The Venue host shows from the independent media center and recently featured Hipster Travel favorite, Palomar.  IMC shows are all ages, non-smoking, and alcohol free, unless otherwise noted.

Chester Street-
63 Chester, Ch (217-356-5607) (unofficially a "gay bar", but mixed)

9 E Taylor (217-355-9333)
204 N. Neil Street (217-352-3231)
Le Shoppe-
110 East University (217-398-1520)

Big Wheel-502 East John, Ch (217-384-4864)

Parasol Records-303 West Griggs St, Urbana, IL (217-344-8609)
Record Swap-
114 E University Ave.Champaign, IL 61820 (217) 367-7927
Periscope- (217-398-4237)

Caffe Paradisso-801 S Lincoln Ave, Urbana 384-6066-paradiso has shows sometimes and allows smoking, as well as games
Thats Rentertainment-Alternative Video Shop-(217-384-0977)

Radio Maria-119 North Walnut, Ch  (217-398-7729) Ecclectic
Nitaya-134 West Church, Ch (217-359-5540) Thai
Fiesta Cafe-216 South First, Ch (217-352-5902) Mexican

Thrift Stores
Brown Elephant, 3651 N. Halsted 773-549-5943; 3939 N. Ashland 773-244-2930

If you have tips you would like to add to this city or your favorite city, please forward them to
evan @ hipstertravel.com.

Italian Beef

Chicago, IL

Flavorpill.net has a good picks list for local events.
Online arts guide-
Centerstage Chicago.COM.  They have a great list of Chicago Records Stores.
Chicago Fun. ORG is a good online newsletter about Chicago Events.
New City is the weekly for Chicago.  There is also the Chicago Reader.
Rocket 99 bar and club guide.

Record Stores
Gramaphone 2663 North Clark
Dr Wax is a local mini chain of indie shops.
Reckless Records is another mini chain of note-at 1532 N Milwaukee Ave , Chicago (773) 235-3727  and 3157 N Broadway St , Chicago (773) 404-5080.
Dusty-Groove America -1180 N Milwaukee Ave , Chicago (773) 645-1200-great vinyl specialists, also online.
Laurie's Planet Of Sound -4703 N Lincoln Ave , Chicago (773) 271-3569
Hear Music, 932 North Rush St., Chicago, IL 60611
Hard Boiled Records, 2008 W. Roscoe, Chicago, IL 60618
Record Swap, 606 1/2 E. Green St., Champaign, IL 61820
Second Hand Tunes, 2602 N. Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614
See Hear Inc., 217 W. North Ave., Chicago, IL 60610
The Quaker Goes Deaf, 1937 W. North Ave,Chicago,IL 60622

Get Me High Lounge, 1758 N. Honore, Chicago (773) 252-4090     In
Bucktown, this hole-in-the-wall has no beer, Only wine and booze. You'll need to be twenty-three to get in. It tiny, secluded, and not cheap.
Rainbo Club -1150 N Damen Ave , Chicago (773) 489-5999-dive bar popular with local indie bands and their friends (HT-might be closing?)
Narcisse-710 North Clark Street-Champagne and Caviar Bar with tapas
Mad Bar-1640 North Damen Avenue-lots and lots of local and celeb djs
Rednofive-440 North Halsted Street-popular with the cooler kids
Smart Bar, 3730 N Clark, Chicago- 773-549-4140 -added to site 9/5/02 this is said to be the place to be by a reliable hipster source.
Zentra -923 W Weed St , Chicago -(312) 787-0400

Band Clubs-
Empty Bottle-1035 N Western Ave , Chicago (773) 276-3600-Listed as one of the best places in Chicago to see live music.
Hideout-1354 W Wabansia, Chicago Il 60622 -773-227-4433
Ronnys-2101 N California Ave - Logan Square, Chicago, IL
Crown Tap Room, 2821 N. Milwaukee Ave. Chicago, IL, 60647 (773) 252-9741

Other live music-
Bottom Lounge-3206 N. Wilton
Double Door -1572 N. Milwaukee Avenue ,Chicago -773.489.3160
The Metro -3730 N. Clark -Chicago 773.549.4140
Schuba's -3159 N. Southport Ave Chicago 773.525.2508
The Vic Theatre-3145 North Sheffield, Chicago IL  (773) 472-0449
Abbey Pub 3420 W. Grace [at Elston]-Chicago 773-478-4408-Irish Pub with live music.
Subterranean-2011 W. North Ave.Chicago, IL 60647
Concert Hotline: (773) 472-0366-major indie bands play at the Vic.

While in town you must get a chicago style dog loaded with tomato, pickle, mustard, relish, onion and sprinkled with celery salt.  Available all over town.
Also, The inspiration for SNL's Cheeburger cheeburger sketch is the The
Billy Goat Tavern & Grill-430 North Michigan Ave. (lower level) Chicago, IL (312)222-1525
Carsons Ribs-multiple locations
more chi chi-
Soul Kitchen-1576 North Milwaukee Avenue-Fried Chicken, etc for the bohemian type
Mia Francesca-3311 North Clark Street-Italian food and gourmet pizza served to the "model" crowd
Al's #1 Italian Beef -169 W. Ontario, Chicago, IL-An italian beef sandwich is like a cheesesteak with tomato sauce instead of cheesewhiz.  The combo sandwich has beef AND sausage and giardiniera, that pickled vegetable mix.
Also great for Italian Beef is Mr. Beef.  666 N Orleans St, Chicago, IL 60610  (312) 337-8500
Paradise Pup and Char Grill-1724 S River Road
(between Kennicott Ln & Riverview Ave), Des Plaines, IL 60018-A cheddar burger is made with cheddar spread, delicious italian beef served french dip style and the classic chicago hot dog. 
Rezas-(Clark St.) -5255 N. Clark, Chicago (773) 561-1898-large portions of Persian food.
Ann Sather -929 West Belmont, Chicago, IL 60657-incredible swedish style waffles.  If you love waffles, you will be blown away.
Chicago has a branch of
Lawrys the Prime Rib-started by the seasoning company they specialize in...prime rib.  Its kind of on the elegant side and my guess is not all that cheap.100 East Ontario Street (312) 787-5000
Weber Grill restaurant cooks everything over charcoal on...weber grills. 539 N. State Street, Chicago IL  312-467-9696
Smoque-800 N Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60641, mempis style dry rub and sauced ribs, great beans.
For Dessert, get a rainbow cone at the original location in the southside,  9233 S. Western Ave. Chicago, IL 60620 773-238-7075, home of the  five-flavor Rainbow Cone, which features chocolate, pistachio, strawberry and Palmer House (a cherry-nut blend) ice creams, as well as a layer of orange sherbet.
Mannys Cafeteria and Deli-1141 S. Jefferson,  Chicago, IL 60607
Jewish style Deli, but not kosher so they are open saturdays, closed sundays.  Also unusual is that they serve cafeteria style (312) 939-2855
Hot Doug's, 3324 North California Avenue, Chicago, IL 60618 (773) 279-9550-Not sure this is trashy or not.  This is a "gourmet" hot dog stand with tons of different varieties including the classic Chicago dog.  They have dogs of unusual meats like rabbit among their choices.  They get a lot of press too.

Other things
The Alley-858 West Belmont Avenue-Leather shop in "alternative" mall.

Dat Donut-8249 S Cottage Grove Ave (between 82nd St & 83rd St) Chicago, IL 60619 Some say this is the best donut in chicago..

Arlington Heights, IL
Dinorex Arlington Heights , an indoor amusement park that claims to be the "Kingdom of the Dinosaurs". There are two Illinois locations, one in Arlington Heights and another in Crystal Lake. Both offer free admission and feature several kid sized thrill rides, including a junior roller coaster.
1227 N. Rand Road, Arlington Heights, IL


Collinsville, Illinois
Attraction-The World's Largest Catsup Bottle is at 800 South Morrison Avenue, just south of Main Street in downtown Collinsville, Illinois.  In July they have a festival.

Edwardsville, IL (outside of St. Louis, MO)
The Stagger Inn again-Local divey bar with shuffleboard and live bands.104 E Vandalia St, Edwardsville, IL 62025 (618) 656-4221 right next to a comic shop and across from the Walgreens


Evanston, IL (outside Chicago)
Wiener and Still Champion-802 Dempster, Evanston, IL 60202 (847) 869-0100.  Hot dog joint that also makes the krispy kreme donut burger, the luther burger.  Corn dogs.  They make a sauce of the week! And have fried pickles too

Gurnee, IL

Amusement Park
Six Flags Great America
542 N Route 21, Gurnee, IL 60031
(847) 249-4636
Big, Standard Six Flags Park

Murphysboro, Illinois (near Evansville)

17th Street Bar and Grill- 32 North 17th Street, Murphysboro, Illinois  62966, 618-684-3722- Features world championship winning BBQ.

River Grove IL (near Chicago)

Gene's & Jude's- old-school hot dog stand that is Steamed with mustard, onion, relish and sport peppers, and served encased in  fries. Ketchup is banned from the premises.  They also Serve Tamales- 2720 River Road, River Grove IL 60171

Springfield, IL

Springfield has its very own sandwich: the Horseshoe.toast on a plate with a hearty hamburger patty resting on top,  underneath a mound of French fries covered with a thick cheese sauce, now there are variations available with Ham and other things.  Available at

D’Arcy’s Pink, 661 West Stanford Avenue
Charlie Parker's Diner, 700 North St,  217 241 2104.  diner food served in a quonset hut
other food
Cozy Dog Drive In, 2935 South 6th St., 217-525-1992 cozydogdrivein.com, on historic Route 66. Their specialty is the Cozy Dog, a cornbread-encased hot dog known elsewhere as a corn dog. $3-$8. 
Head West Sub Stop,  submarine sandwiches, plus other locations
530 E Capitol St,  217 789 9101.
Joe Roger's Chili, 820 S. 9th Street,217 522 3722, classic Springfield chili parlors. with or without beans, with or without meat  with six different levels of spiciness.
Maid-Rite Sandwich Shop, 118 N Pasfield St, 217 523 0723.  loose meat sandwiches of spiced ground beef. Used to be lots of these.  Sandwiches are similar to sloppy joes
Kuma's Corner-2900 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60618-5804
(773) 604-8769  www.kumascorner.com   Burger joint with hybrid burgers like pulled pork on a burger or Sausage...


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