Located at 505 S. Chesnut Street in Champaign, Fat City Bar and Grill’s City Center takes the top spot for best music venue this year. In April, Fat City transformed what used to be their beer garden into a spacious indoor venue dubbed The City Center.
The City Center’s victory may come as a surprise to some; The Canopy Club has long been the reigning champ when it comes to local music venues, with The Highdive and Mike N Molly’s always close behind. The City Center may be new to the local music scene, but the venue has already brought an impressive list of country artists to C-U: Diamond Rio, Gloriana and Rodney Atkins have all made appearances at The City Center within the past few months. Star Course recently brought electro-pop artist Ryn Weaver to The City Center, possibly indicating that the venue may start expanding its appeal outside of country music.
While The City Center’s current country focus may not be for everyone, its layout is promising; apart from The Canopy Club, there are few larger venues in the C-U city limits. The City Center has the capabilities to bring a wide variety of larger touring acts to town, making the venue a promising feature in the Champaign-Urbana music scene.