Anna Biggins leads patrons in a toast on the opening night of Robert's Westside on Monday, November 20, 2023 | Todd Bannor
Donnie Biggins, owner of Robert’s Westside (on red acoustic guitar), and the Shams Band play on the venue’s opening night on Monday November 20, 2023 | Todd Bannor

Robert’s Westside got a decent-sized crowd Monday night after Forest Parkers and out-of-towners flocked to the new music venue on its opening day.

Doors opened in 3 p.m., but the festivities didn’t pick up until later that evening. Customers sipped a few beers as owner Donnie Biggins’ band, the Shams, played. The band got its start on Madison Street corridor, in bars that no longer exist, so Biggins thought it was only fitting that they will be performing. 

The opening night crowd at Robert’s Westside on Monday November 20, 2023 | Todd Bannor

Robert’s Westside opened inside the space at the northeast corner of Circle and Madison that was once home to the Forest Park Tap Room. The name was a tribute to Biggins’ father and Tap Room’s predecessor, Healy’s Westside. The owner told the Review that he wanted the venue to have something for just about every music taste, and he hoped that customers would take a chance on genres and performers that they may not think were up their alley.

Robert’s Westside will have a community open house party Nov. 24. Mr. Blotto, a Chicago jam band, will be playing Nov. 25. Robert Westside’s first open mic will be held Nov. 28 at 6 p.m. 

Igor Studenkov