All good things must come to an end. The three story building at 1958 W. North Avenue which was home to one of the most legendary and iconic nightclubs in Chicago history is now closing its doors for good. Currently known as Annex Nightclub on the 2nd and 3rd floors and a bar called Tavern on the first floor, the building has always been a bastion of nightlife amidst Wicker Park’s busy hub of North Avenue, Damen and Milwaukee.

In the ’90s Red Dog Nightclub was the epicenter for its growing House music scene. As Time Out Magazine aptly put it, “if you wanted to hear House music in Wicker Park, you went to Red Dog. Counted alongside Shelter and the Warehouse in the city’s rich dance-music history, Red Dog helped launch the second wave of Chicago House talent.”

In 2003 it shut down, and eventually reopened as Ohm in 2006. Ohm eventually closed its doors as well and turned into Annex in February of 2016. Joey Swanson, the creative director who also runs the long running House party Boom Boom Room, filled the lineups with House music on the main floor and various genres of electronic music on the 2nd level.

This weekend beginning September 29th will be their final one. That Friday night they will be having a Strictly ’90s House Music theme featuring DJs Psycho-Bitch, John Simmons, Diz, Just Joey and Czboogie for her birthday celebration.

  • Reginald L. Davenport

    Excerpts from a ‘work-in-progress’ book project:

    The magical sensations of clubbing in 1997 were of course extended back home when I took my yearly leave during March. Chicago was still holding strong, especially on the North Side. I got exposed to another phenomenal experience thanks to Amman, this time at the three-way intersection of North Avenue/Milwaukee Avenue/Damen Avenue. The address of record was 1958 W. North Avenue. Red Dog was the place, and on Monday nights for the Boom Boom Room party the spinmasters were Lego and Mark Grant. The entrance to the club was actually around the side of the building, in the alleyway. Once you got inside you had to go up a flight of stairs to get into the main room. The sound would meet you at the door before any human would. The energy of the room was simply colossal. And, of course, the deejays were always on fire. Lego’s set was high in energy and punch, and much of the music was in-your-face. You would often hear songs with a Latin flavor, songs with female vocals, and harmonized soulful jams. All of these were fused together flawlessly – the man’s blends were incredibly tight. Then there was Mark Grant, who could be best described as a jazzy kind of fellow. He would take the final shift and change the complexion of the night but leave one speechless in the process. Taking the reins from Lego he would begin his set at the same tempo, and then gradually slow it down to create the mood for cooling down. You heard vocals, and you heard instrumental tracks, and you heard very hypnotic grooves – courtesy of the Rhodes organ. Mark’s blends were rock-solid as well and before you could blink twice it was 3:30, and time to go home. There was one time that I remember when the rule requiring everyone to exit the building was ‘bent’ for just a few extra minutes. Mark had played his last record and once the song ended the lights came up and it was time to go. However, the host decided that it was time for one more record. This person insisted (more along the lines of ‘demanded’) that Mark put on another record. Once this person’s foot stomped on the floor Mark had no choice but to put one more record on – and the crowd went wild. Monday nights at Red Dog became another event for me to accommodate on my calendar for my visits home.