Another important, forgotten pre-gentrification cultural venue, the Hothouse opened on the ground floor of the Flat Iron Building in the late 1980s.
It was known for featuring cutting-edge jazz, world music, and spoken word performances that (unlike many nightclubs) reflected the multicultural demographic of the surrounding area. As rents increased, the Hothouse made an ill-fated move to the South Loop, where the venue was harassed constantly by city inspectors and police. Some believed this was due to the club’s racially mixed audiences, or else possibly to the owner’s support of leftist political groups.
In any event, the club finally gave up the ghost, and the space has been empty ever since. Its original location became a music bar called The Note, and most recently, a 4 am “meat market” called, with no originality whatsoever, The Flat Iron.
Like Nick’s or Estelle’s (another rehabbed late-night bar), the establishment pulses with a sleazy after-hours vitality, but visitors should use caution, as crime is not unheard of despite the area’s improvements. Recently, a local musician was viciously attacked when he interfered with a domestic dispute outside the club.