Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Back in the Day: The Octogon

One of the places I use to go to drink and dance in the 90s was a dive bar called Octagon (2483 N Clark).  I suspect it was one of those bars that put up shop when the neighborhood was less than desirable and eventually got taxed out of existence once the final stages of gentrification arrived.

I've never really liked clubs because they are just too loud to talk to anyone.  That's not old man Icarus talking, I felt this way in my 20s.  The only exceptions I've found are the euro-trash and maybe a few suburban ones.

The front of this place really looked like an Old Man Bar trying to pass itself off as a sports bar (probably what kept it alive during the early days of gentrification).  In the back there was a decent sized dance floor and they played what we considered Alternative Music:  DePeche Mode, Erasure, Pet Shop Boys, New Order, Tears For Fears, etc. 

Free Parking was hard but not impossible to find and my friends and I would go there, have a few drinks and get our dance on.

 The owner was there every night making sure everything ran smoothly and I think he was in his late 70's at that point. He sat on the corner sipping his drink making sure he said hi to everyone as they walked in. Great times and memories..

I was hanging with some suburban transplants at the time so we often were the first ones there and the first to leave, not that it would have made any difference.  I was often the 5th wheel to a pair of couples which is not only counter productive to meeting anyone, it is actually the kiss of death.

Plus I didn't know how to talk to girls people which would work out fine 20 years later.  Around 1999 it closed or re-branded itself as Thin Lizzie's.  I don't care to google if that place is still around, it was douche bag bait for all the frat boys in Lincoln Park and lost it's edge. 

There was another place that had a similar concept, bar up front,  psychedelic dance room in the back (I'm sure this is not a unique thing).  The Artful Dodger (1734 W Wabansia) went one better by having the bar area look like Medusa's all grown up. 

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