Best Unofficial Venue: Heart of Gold Credit: Eric Bartholomew

The Reader’s Choice: Heart of Gold

Show houses and lofts have a well-deserved reputation as dirty, ramshackle, and out of control. Broken toilets, broken PAs, some dude in leggings doing embarrassing dance moves, the one drunk idiot who always seems to piss on the radiator and stink the joint up—they’re all part of the charm. But Heart of Gold, a finished private loft, is one of very few that combine the best qualities of a club and a house show. Real stage, real PA, tables and booths—but the unspoken social rules of nightclub behavior give way for the most part to a casual, partylike vibe. The talent’s legit too, ranging from excellent soul DJs to bands that would otherwise be playing someplace less fun—Tight Phantomz, the Living Blue, Pinebender, even the occasional touring act. At press time the space had been shut down by the city—just like our readers’ choice—but these things have a way of turning out to be less than permanent. —Miles Raymer

& Our readers’ choice: AV-aerie

 2000 W. Fulton #310, 312-850-4030,