On The Red Line

Jeremy Gordon

Chicago’s Belmont area is a veritable gold mine for anyone looking to pick up on the latest trends and fashions. Of course, for those of you who hate trends and fashions, there are still a lot of places to have fun – whether you’re button-mashing or grabbing a bite to eat. Because you just couldn’t wait for Chicago Unzipped to release their second issue, here are four places off the Belmont Red Line stop that are sure to whet your culture whistle.

Dennis’ Place for Games

(957 W. Belmont)

This is a video game arcade that is awesome in about every way. You can’t wear hats, you can’t loiter, some of the games are broken in some way and the Pump It Up machine is cranked to an eardrum-shattering volume. But you get a ton of tokens on the dollar, it’s open until 4 a.m. on weekends, and it has every game dear to your heart. Remember the Simpsons arcade game that you and your friends used to try to beat? It’s there. Remember how to beat the first stage of Time Crisis 2 without losing a life? It’s there. Remember putting your quarter on the screen to call your place in line? How could you live any other way?


(812 W Belmont)

Do you like clothes? Of course you do, you’re reading PLAY! Ragstock is a half-thrift store, half-retail outlet. There are lots of cheap clothes but also a lot of expensive ones. You go to Ragstock if you’re looking to purchase an entire outfit under $50 that will be somewhat hip. The customer service is pretty awful because everyone who works in the Belmont area is a hipster, which means they’re addicted to their phone in every aspect of their lives. Employees at a hipster fashion store are predictably flippant about their jobs. Grab some rags and look like a star without having the cash of one.

Clarke’s Diner on Belmont

(930 W Belmont)

Although I’ve never been there late at night, the Belmont version of Clarke’s is apparently the place to be when you’re drunk, because it’s open 24 hours. It’s the Belmont equivalent of Burger King (or Clarke’s in Evanston, I suppose). Even though it’s diner food, you can go to Clarke’s following a late night of videogaming at Dennis’ Place for Games, and pay about $10 too much for a mediocre plate of eggs and a milkshake you’re sick of by the third sip. But you know what? This is college. We make poor financial decisions as easily as Steve Nash makes an alley-oop pass with his eyes closed.

Reckless Records

(3161 N. Broadway)

A bit further from the train stop, but this record store, with its moderate prices and amazing selection, is worth it. You can find all sorts of vinyl and plastic here. CDs will set you back a little, but the wax selection is fairly priced and fantastic. Leaf for hours and find that rare 7-inch single from your favorite band you always wanted.

Medill freshman Jeremy Gordon is a PLAY pop culture columnist. He can be reached at [email protected]