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Club 505, 13505 S. Brainard Ave., Chicago, Illinois
The LAST of the great polka lounges in Chicago. The legendary Club 505 is a time warped polka mecca located on the City’s Southside. An unspoiled 1950s oasis featuring polkas on the jukebox, pictures of happier days on the wall and a stuffed squirrel playing the accordion! The dance floor and bandstand was spectacular. Although quiet during our visit as it took place during a late Friday afternoon, it was easy to picture the 505 packed with dancers listening to the Ampol Aires and Little Wally. Current owner Frank Nowak since 1983. Founded by Wally & Josie Mlynarczk in 1946.
Chicago’s, if not the world’s, number one polka night shot is the Club 505. Originally opened in 1946 by Walter and Josephine Mlynarczyk, the club is located at 13505 South Brainard Avenue in the southeastern corner of Chicago know as Hegewisch. It wasn’t until 1957, when the new addition was put on, that the couple went into live music and dancing. Polka bands were hired to play Wednesday, Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday. In 1958, remote broadcasts were begun over Radio WJOB in nearby Hammond. At the time, the broadcasts were heard every Sunday from 4-5 pm and included TWO bands. The live broadcasts were announced by Bob Peitrzak and later Wally Skibinski and Gene Barlog. It was a custom at Club 505 to serve free Polish sausage and sauerkraut on Sunday evening. Even Illinois Governor Dan Walker dropped by one Sunday afternoon, danced the polka and mingled with the crowd.
What bands played at the Club 505? Li’l Wally, Eddie Zima, Marion Lush, Li’l Richard, Eddie Blazonczyk’s Versatones, The Naturals, Ampol Aires, Pala Brothers, Eddie Wojcik, Joe Pat, Paul Rich, Merry Notes, Charlie Rzepka, 47th Street Concertina Club, Polka Sharps, Paliga Polka Dots, George Stevens, Mike Ryba, Gene Mikrut, The Keynotes, Dominoes, Stan Golonka, The Gents, Changing Times, Dial-A-Tones, Monumentals, Vitbrasounds, Doc’s All Stars, Music Company, Chicago Sound, Harmonizers, Chicago Polka Gents and MANY more.