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Saturday November 17th 2018

High Fidelity | 2000

High Fidelity filming location: North Milwaukee Avenue at Honore, Wicker Park, Chicago
High Fidelity location: ‘Championship Vinyl’, the record store of pop geek Rob Gordon: North Milwaukee Avenue at Honore, Wicker Park, Chicago

Nick Hornby’s novel is transposed with surprising success by UK director Stephen Frears from London to the trendy Wicker Park district of Chicago.

‘Championship Vinyl’, the record store of pop geek and serial rejectee Rob Gordon (John Cusack) was an empty store at 1500 North Milwaukee Avenue and North Honore Street (the interior was a studio set). In September 2008, the store was still vacant and boarded-up. Don’t be disappointed – you can pick up secondhand vinyl only a short distance away, at Reckless Records, 1379 North Milwaukee.

Rob’s high school is Lane Technical High School, 2501 West Addison Street, and he waits on the Armitage Street Station for a train to work.

High Fidelity location: Soiree Bar Bistro, 2438 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago
High Fidelity location: Rob sees Marie De Salle: Soiree Bar Lounge, 2438 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago

The bar where Rob goes to hear Marie De Salle (Lisa Bonet) was Lounge Ax, 2438 North Lincoln Avenue, in the De Paul district, which closed in early 2000. The space is now Soiree Bar Lounge. It’s across from the famous Biograph Theatre where, as Rob points out, John Dillinger was shot dead – as you can see in Michael Mann's Public Enemies.

High Fidelity location: Music Box Theatre, North Southport Avenue, Chicago
High Fidelity location: Rejection No. 2: Music Box Theatre, North Southport Avenue, Chicago

He sees a movie with Rejection No.2, film critic Penny, at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 North Southport Avenue, and they drink after at Strega Nona, now revamped as Take Five, 3747 North Southport Avenue, next door. Hi Ricky Restaurant (now closed), 3730 North Southport Avenue is where he takes Rejection No. 4, messed-up Sarah (Lili Taylor).

High Fidelity location: Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, North Broadway Avenue, Chicago
High Fidelity location: the jazz club: Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, North Broadway Avenue, Chicago

It’s in jazz club the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, 4802 North Broadway Avenue at Lawrence, that Rob reminisces about Laura (Iben Hjejle). It's one of the Chicago hangouts where you really can believe the ‘Al Capone drank here often’ sign hanging behind the bar. During Prohibition, the club was part-owned by Jack McGurn, one of Capone's Chicago Outfit. In fact, you can see Capone's favorite booth directly west of the short end of the bar – it's one that gives conveniently clear views of both the front and back entrances.

Today the Green Mill, patterned after Monroe’s Uptown House in Harlem as it was during the ’40s, is the home of jazz performance, from New Orleans traditional to New York avant-garde.

You can see the Green Mill's glorious decor on-screen in Ocean’s 12, Thief, The Lake House and Prelude to a Kiss among other productions.

High Fidelity location: Smith & Wollensky, North State Street, Marina City, Chicago
High Fidelity location: uncomfortable information: Smith & Wollensky, North State Street, Marina City, Chicago

Meanwhile, Laura tells Rob’s sister Liz (real-life sister Joan Cusack) four pieces of uncomfortable information in steakhouse Smith & Wollensky, 318 North State Street in Marina City, alongside the river at the foot of Chicago’s giant ‘corncob’ towers.

High Fidelity location: Rainbo Club, North Damen, Wicker Park, Chicago
High Fidelity location: tentative proposal: Rainbo Club, North Damen, Wicker Park, Chicago

On the Kinzie Street Bridge, Rob lists the things he misses about Laura, before tentatively proposing to her over a lunchtime drink at the laid-back The Rainbo Club, 1150 North Damen at Haddon Avenue.

High Fidelity location: Double Door, 1572 North Milwaukee Avenue, Wicker Park, Chicago
High Fidelity location: Barry gets to perform: Double Door, 1572 North Milwaukee Avenue, Wicker Park, Chicago

It’s back to Wicker Park’s main drag, only a few hundred yards along from the ‘Championship Vinyl’ storefront for the launch party of ‘I Sold My Mom’s Wheelchair’, where Barry (Jack Black) finally gets to perform, which is famed music venue Double Door, 1572 North Milwaukee Avenue.