As double shots of Jameson demonstrate, “bigger is better” can be a solid nightlife strategy—and one the Eat Well Drink Better Group hopes applies to its latest boozy endeavor, LaSalle Power Co.
The boys behind English, Grand Central, and Angels & Mariachis have stuffed a lot into the 20,000-square-foot River North building that once housed the historic LaSalle Street Cable Car Powerhouse (and, more recently, Michael Jordan’s Restaurant and Lalo’s). Divvied up into bar, restaurant, and live-music areas, the space is one dose retro (seventies-style gold swivel chairs, $8 Harvey Wallbangers and sidecars) and one dose rock ’n’ roll (nine beers by the can, a fully equipped stage on the third floor).
“Our people don’t go and see live shows,” co-owner David Mitria says of the nightclub crowd. With this “modern-day Whiskey A Go-Go,” Mitria and Co. are hoping to rope in rock lovers who call Double Door and the Metro home. And although the group’s goal was to keep things “a little more gritty,” there’s still plenty of glitz. While LPC isn’t out to drain you—only national acts have a cover, meaning 90 percent of the concerts are free—these guys seem to have no problem draining themselves: A 167-inch plasma video wall simulcasts the live shows; a six-foot chandelier was flown in from Mexico, as was the artist who painted hundreds of gold insignias on the walls; and every inch of space that’s not hand-detailed is covered in more vintage concert posters—CCR, Rage Against the Machine—than you can count.
But there’s plenty you can, including the number of kitchens (two), live shows per week (three), mini slider options (about a dozen, including Reubens and lobster salad), and dollars you’ll fork over for a beer ($4 to $6). Just don’t try to tally the number of stairs from the first floor to the third. In this outsize joint, the elevator is your best bet.
GO: LaSALLE POWER CO.
500 N. LaSalle St.
Photograph: Chris Guillen