Saturday, January 1, 2011

Buh Bye BoA Cinema & Wonder Bar

As the new year rolls in, we bid adieu to a couple of long-standing if under-the-radar Chicago entertainment venues.

1. Bye, Bank of America Cinema - For 38 years this oddball movie house - hidden in an obscure northwest side bank building - screened Hollywood classics like Laurel and Hardy along with themed series such as "Mustache Cinema" (where one might watch Mutiny on the Bounty, the only Clark Gable movie where he's sans 'stache).

2. Underground Wonder Bar - Lonie Walker's teeny jazz and blues club has been open every night for 21 years in the Gold Coast and given many newbie musicians the chance to cut their chops. Established musicians, too - Liza Minnelli and Tiny Tim rank among the eclectic crooners who've grabbed the mic.

In both cases, the venues fell victim to new landlords who kicked them out. The cinema is hoping to start up again as a Wednesday night series at the Portage Theater. The Wonder Bar is trying to move to a new site at 736 N Clark St.

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