The Alley is back; Chicago’s counterculture mecca is louder than ever at new location in Avondale

Chicago Scene

The storied history of the Alley continues to grow, now located in an industrial warehouse in Avondale at 2620 W. Fletcher St., celebrated 45 years as Chicago’s iconic counterculture in June 6.

Recently moved from the Lakeview neighborhood, shut down during parts of the pandemic, The Alley pushes forward with more than four decades, The Alley has been a Chicago landmark destination for the counterculture lifestyle offering merchandise that reflects the cutting edge in punk, goth, glam, emo, mod, rockabilly, alternative, biker and rock gear.

Favorites from Clark and Belmont are home in Avondale

After establishing a loyal following at its Lakeview location on Clark St., The Alley moved to Avondale in 2020. The new space, a warehouse longingly referred to as “The Mothership” by owner Mark Thomas, has been the home for its website, screen printing and jewelry operation for more than 20 years and has now been welcoming walk-in shopping in its new storefront since October 2020. 

“We are excited about the 45th Anniversary because it allows us to meet so many people we have not seen in more than a year due to the pandemic,” said owner Mark Thomas. “We hope that all those interested in experiencing the feel, the look and the smell of the store will come to help us commemorate 45 years of providing a unique experience with fun items for a great clientele.” 

Jacket made famous by rocker Rob Zombie

Thomas spent almost 30 years at the corner of Belmont and Clark where he met his wife and raised two daughters. He is now the owner of The Alley stores, The Art Colony, The Music Factory (100 art and music studios, 270 tenants), a jewelry factory and a screen-printing business. He has traveled over 4,000,000 miles in his life; allowing him the opportunity to observe other forms of government, business strategies, cultures and approaches to community development. 

Old School Alley

To find more information on The Alley, click here.

To follow Tom Barnas on his Chicago Scene adventures, check out @tomwgnchicago on Intsagram.

The Alley when it was back at Clark and Belmont

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