O'Banion's

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O'Banion's was one of the oldest and longest running of the original punk clubs. Located on Clark St. and Erie, O'Banion's opened its doors in June of 1978. From time of its opening until its closing on February 3rd 1982, the time during O'Banions operation was often considered to be the zenith of the original Chicago punk movement. After O'Banions closing, the scene transformed to larger venues, more people and less of a close-knit community.

Every year, the members of the original O'Banion's scene have a reunion weekend in honor of their fallen venue. In 2005, the reunion took place at Club Foot and the musical portion was at The Note - acts such as the The Swingers, Tu Tu & The Pirates and Bonemen of Barumba played reunion shows.

(Note: Contrary to popular belief, O'Banion's was not the former location of Irish gangster Dion O'Banion's flower shop. O'Banion was a part owner of Schofield’s Flower Shop, located at 738 North State, directly across the street from Holy Name Cathedral. That was also the location of the Al Capone ordered hit that ended O'Banion's life.

661 N. Clark was, however, the former site of McGovern's Liberty Inn. The website for The Kerryman Bar and Restaurant, the current establishment at that address, quotes unnamed sources to the effect that "O'Banion wowed patrons with his beautiful Irish tenor voice at McGovern's Liberty Inn, where he worked as a singing waiter; later, he and his pals would rob drunken customers of their wallets and mug others outside")


General Info

Ob1.jpg

  • Address - 661 N. Clark
  • Phone # - (312) 664-8585
  • Hours - Open from 7am to 4am

History

Despite the swankiness of its current River North location, the area at the time of O'Banion's was something far different. Previous to it's incarnation as Chicago's #1 punk venue, O'Banion's building occupied a wide array of seedy businesses.

  • The McGovern Saloon
  • The Liberty Inn (Chicago's largest strip club in the 1950s)
  • A lesbian bar
  • A "rough" gay bar named PQs

Employees

  • Roseann - Bar
  • Nancy Rapchak - DJ
  • Everett - Manager
  • Phil

Trvia

  • The bartender would play Sham69's Sunday Morning Nightmare to let the patrons know that the crowd is shifting from a gay clientèle to a punk clientèle.
  • Santiago Durango and Marko Pezzati first met at O'Banions - later forming Naked Raygun

Notable Shows

External Links