There are basically three things that bring Logan Square, Wicker Park and Bucktown together: Milwaukee Avenue, the 606 and the opinion that The Taste of Chicago is a hot mess.
The fourth was the WPB Logan Square February Mixer on Feb. 7 at the shiny and newly-refurbished Concord Music Hall. Six years after we covered its launch, the Concord still feels like a hidden gem that replaced The Congress Theater.
Sponsored by the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce and the Logan Square Chamber of Commerce, people of every profession and walk of life met, ate great food and exchanged ideas and business cards (And hugs. A surprising amount of hugging occurred—once the champagne got flowing. Don’t we all need a hug in this political climate?).
The Concord Music Hall (2047 N. Milwaukee Ave), a mid-sized multi-level concert venue, was the perfect balance of low-lit intimacy and rock concert style design for the event, with music by DJ Dirty Darren. The interior is a photographer/filmmaker’s dream, with plenty of balcony space and room to go behind their spacious bar, as shown to me by Jacob Schneider, Concord Music Hall’s marketing director and brand manager.
The event started at 6 p.m., but we early birds were allowed upstairs by the friendly Chamber of Commerce members who checked people in.
There were some unconventional venues as well, like MedMar, an Illinois Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Lakeview and Rockford. Very much like our MOCA in Logan Square, they provide medical cannabis for patients with a prescription.
One vendor that really peaked everyone’s imagination was Escape Artistry, a story-driven experience where you and your group have an hour to collectively find clues and solve puzzles to escape the room. Each of the three female reps were in costume, dressed like steampunk time travelers.
Pamela Maass, the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce executive director, introduced Jessica Wobbekind, the new Logan Square Chamber of Commerce executive director to the audience. Then she instructed the guests to hive five her hardworking staff and members for putting on such a successful bash. They definitely deserved her praise.
Fantastic food was provided by an assortment of vendors, like tacos from Big Star Chicago: tiny, flavorful, sprinkle-covered donuts by Ipsento Coffee and cocktails from The Violet Hour. Including two drink tickets, this is quite a deal for only $10. The connections alone are worth the price of admission: I gave out all of my business cards and got others’ in return, plus a fistful of phone numbers on napkins.
The next big event is the Wellness Expo and Rejuvenation Crawl on April 8, hosted by the WPBCC. Many of the vendors from Wednesday night will be back, so forget about FOMO. For the price of two Venti Lattes, you can sample health-minded products and wellness experiences on a Sunday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
All ticket sales will benefit the Play on Pritzker Campaign at A.N. Pritzker Elementary School, which attempts to improve their outdoor play area. If you’re looking to make new business contacts or new friends (or in many cases both), be sure to sign up for this event and explore the idea of joining your local chamber of commerce.
WPBCC and Logan Square CC, if you join forces for another networking event, I’m there. To me you’re like The Justice League: individually you’re awesome, but you all get so much more done as a team.
Click here to see more WPBCC photos in Erik’s Flickr album.