Many people, places and things like to fancy themselves as a “Chicago institution.”

Know how you can tell a real one? Take it away, lock the doors, hide yourself away for 16 months and announce on social media that you’re re-opening or reappearing. If people are storming the doors based upon little more than a hint — then that’s it: you’re a bona fide institution.

So it happened yesterday when Smartbar let slip that they were re-opening this weekend. People began texting and calling and sharing information without the slightest concern of who was actually playing. That’s how you know a club is irreplaceable. That’s how you know you’re beloved.

But thankfully now we have that line-up. This afternoon Smartbar announced their opening weekend – the first shows since March 2020. I don’t think it could disappoint but suffice to say that it does not.

Opening Friday, June 18, Smartbar welcomes Honey Dijon and DJ Heather.

Saturday night, June 19, Smartbar brings together one of the most influential deep house acts in history: Chez N Trent. (Yes: Chez Damier and Ron Trent, together.)

This Sunday, June 20 marks the return of Queen!, Smartbar’s world famous residency with DJs Derrick Carter, Michael Serafini and Garrett David.

Admission will require “proof of vaccination,” and “a photo of your vaccination card will suffice.” This is subject to change for future events.

Tickets go on sale this afternoon at


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