Top Five Ways To Experience The Chicago Of High Fidelity Fame

With ‘High Fidelity’ approaching its 20th anniversary next year, John Cusack rolls into Indy Feb. 7 to host a screening of the film followed by a Q&A session at the Old National Centre.

Hardcore fans of the flick can retrace lead character Rob Gordon’s steps with their own pilgrimage to the Windy City. Much of the movie was filmed in the trendy Wicker Park neighborhood populated with a multitude of shops, bars, and restaurants that lend themselves nicely to on-foot exploration.

Here are the top five things to put on your High Fidelity-themed itinerary, (not necessarily in chronological order):

  • Shop for records. Although Championship Vinyl itself is a fictional location, you can still snap a selfie outside the storefront that stood in as the facade at the corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Honore Street, currently home to a Rapha Chicago bicycling clubhouse. In real life, Reckless Records just up the street offers a huge vinyl selection to browse—without any hint of Championship musical elitism.
  • Check out some live music, preferably the dive-bar, lounge variety. Sadly, the Double Door nightclub that hosted Vince and Justin’s record release party and Jack Black’s Barry Jive and the Uptown Five performance is no more. Ditto the now-defunct Lounge Ax venue in Lincoln Park where Rob, Barry, and Dick catch Marie De Salle’s act for the first time. Fortunately, the legendary Green Mill jazz club in Uptown is alive and well, making an appearance not only in High Fidelity, but also in other Chicago-sited movies including the Lake House, the Break-Up, and Soul Food.
  • Rainbo Club

    Opine about your ex. The divey, intimate Rainbo Club in Wicker Park is where Rob and singer/songwriter Marie De Salle (played by Lisa Bonet) bare their souls on the couch about past relationships. The site also does double-duty as the restaurant where Rob later proposes to Laura at a table by the window. You’ll have to venture deeper into the city to walk across the Kinzie Street bridge where Rob breaks the fourth wall to wax poetic about the top five things he misses about Laura. While you’re downtown, dine at Smith and Wollensky at the base of iconic Marina City to revisit the spot where Laura reveals four pieces of critical information to friend Liz (played by Joan Cusack, John’s real-life sister).

  • Catch a movie or a play at a historic theater. High Fidelity highlights two to choose from — the Music Box at 3733 N. Southport Ave. and the Biograph/Victory Gardens (where John Dillinger was shot) at 2433 N. Lincoln Ave.
  • Explore the neighborhood like a local. It’s actually not in the movie, but the Art Deco-style Robey Hotel offers stylish retro digs right in the heart of all the Wicker Park action at the six-way intersection of Milwaukee, North and Damen, along with a ground-level café and killer views of the downtown skyline from the rooftop pool and the Up Room cocktail lounge. (Average rates start from $240 for a double room.) The swanky Violet Hour just a block away holds rank as one of the forefathers of craft cocktailing; pad your stomach before a drinking session with Big Star tacos across the street.
Big Star Tacos