Who forgot that filth is fun when you're young? Each week, a new club sprouts in a relatively hip area promoting the hottest crowd, best music and finest decor. Betty's Blue Star Lounge keeps things old school with great music and cheap drinks in a more-than-gritty setting.
A couple booths and an elevated VIP lounge add the only touches of luxury, but fail to stand out against a raven-colored dance floor and curtains under dim lights. Lick the creaky floorboards holding up the bar (don't) and you'll taste layers upon layers of ash and stale beer. Croon to early '90s hip-hop tunes near the boxy DJ booth and let a wave of urinal-cake funk, leaking from the bathroom, wash over you. Don't let the gloomy aura fool you though; Betty's is not a sports bar. A burly security guard and street-smart crowd remind you to keep your cool and not pick fights (or wear flip-flops). All murkiness aside, Betty’s provides an atmosphere where anything goes, underscored by a diversity of patrons.
Expect a different touch each day, but overall, always in attendance are the house-heads in their early '40s refusing to forfeit their passion for the culture; the Wicker Park transplants donned in thrift-store giveaways; the neighborhood loner buying a case of Old Style to go (you can do that here); and the urban hip-hop crowd clad in big clothes and even bigger chains.
Utilize the space as an after-party spot and dance to top-40 hip-hop joints on Fridays and Saturdays (cover usually ranges from none to $5 but can go as high as $20). Play a few rounds of pool on Wednesdays, when games are free. Select a few hits from the jukebox before someone plays the entire Amy Winehouse CD. Or toss back a couple Pabst Blue Ribbons ($2 on Wednesdays), while munching on a 12-inch pizza ($12).
Centerstage Reviewer: David-Anthony Gonzalez