When you've mastered one level, all it takes is some hard work and guts to conquer a new one, unless you're talking about Level 9 of Legend of Zelda, in which case you also need the red ring and silver arrows. Conquering new ground in the live music scene, Lincoln Hall.
Opening Friday from the folks behind Schubas, a longtime standout among small music venues, LH is giving them more room to roam, having renovated the long-vacant Three Penny movie theater to roughly triple the capacity for rocking over their original space, which played host to the fledgling careers of Death Cab For Cutie, Feist, and a pre-Chicago River feces incident Dave Matthews. Patrons can quench their thirst at one of three bars: a separate room with pub-style booth seating up front, and another on the mezzanine that looks down at a former movie screen reborn as an expansive stage area featuring a third beer-only bar and a pimped out sound system, the kind-of-acoustics that make it easy to ignore your girlfriend when she's hinting that she's tired. Food-wise they're slinging small plates (buffalo chicken satay, pepper-glazed pork skewers, goat cheese-arugula flatbread with acorn squash butter) along with wraps and sandwiches like a jerk chicken pita, a half-pound caramelized onion burger on a brioche bun, and pastrami that's crammed in a baguette, the French mafia's time-tested method of disposing of tiny informants.
They're kicking things off with former Soul Coughing frontman Mike Doughty's show on Oct. 16, with Jay Farrar and Benjamin Gibbard (Death Cab) being among the other anticipated names on the fall docket, which you'll hit provided you can pull yourself away from that relentless quest for the Triforce of Power.