Meet the 3CR Staff: Sarah Brooks, Music Editor

Sarah Brooks, the Hideout, ChicagoThis is the first post in a series of interviews of Third Coast staffers conducted by Third Coast Staffers. In this interview, Emma Terhaar talks to music section editor Sarah Brooks at her favorite spot in Chicago, the Hideout Inn. Julian Ramirez took all the photos. 

So where are we right now?

I don’t know but I love it. Heaven perhaps?

(Looks around at Veggie Bingo, a monthly bingo party in which participants win baskets of vegetables. Recognizing the intent of the question).

Oh, we’re at the Hideout because it’s my favorite place!

I’ve loved it since 2013 when I went to my first Hideout Block Party. Neko Case and Mavis Staples played. Every year is wonderful though. I’ve fallen in love with the Hideout, what it stands for as an unchanged place in the ever changing Chicago landscape. 

A year ago I saw Lady Lamb. That was a really good show, but I must say the block party again is my favorite. Last year I got a selfie with Kelly Hogan. I’ve seen her with Neko, Andrew Bird, her band Lady Parts, and with the Flat Five.

(Talking about Veggie Bingo hosts). They are very dark and I love it.

the Hideout, Sarah Brooks, Chicago

Tell me about your neighborhood.

I live in Ravenswood and I LOVE it. It feels not yet suburban, but not in the hustle-and-bustle anymore. I don’t know how to explain it much more than that, but it feels so neighborhoody and homey. People say hi to each other on the street.

I rotate my time visiting local spots–Over Easy for my favorite breakfast, Ravenswood Used Books for wandering through stacks and stacks of books, Primo Chuki’s for tacos, and ​Winnemac Park for sunshine. Let’s give a moment of silence to the now since shuttered, Carol’s Pub.

Whenever I visit other cities, I end up comparing them to the sweet city I’ll always call my home– the nicest people, the communal spirit, and everlasting traditions, with the exception of the whole no ketchup on a hot dog thing. Ketchup is amazing!​

ketchup, hot dogs, Sarah Brooks, Chicago, the hideout
Hot dogs ARE gluten free.

Brava! Very wise words! Why did you start your food Instagram @SarahsGlutenFreedom?

I guess I felt like this was a bit of an open market in Chicago as far as Insta-blogging goes. Except, for my pal @glutenfreepearls, she does it so right! And I wanted to be able to document what I eat and also educate people I knew who were always asking me–so what do you eat? (Lots of things!) Is corn gluten? ​(No.) So you can’t eat potatoes? (That’s not gluten.) You know what I’m saying? So it turned into this delicious food diary of sorts that has allowed me to connect with local businesses and purveyors all over the country, so that’s been pretty awesome.

(Distractedly watching bingo numbers being called while glancing down at a nearly full board and whispering to herself repeatedly). I would really love the veggies. I would really love the veggies. I would really love the veggies.

But that’s not your only side-project right now?

Sarah Brooks, the hideout, Chicago

Right, I make a weekly playlist. ​​I wanted to start The Sounds She Collected around a year ago, but I kept putting it off because off stupid things–I couldn’t think of a name, I didn’t have a logo, is what I have to say even valuable–ya know, classic impostor syndrome things. At the end of the day, I pushed away my fear of creation and remembered that I love making playlists and finding the connection in a simple string of songs. It’s also such a fragmented, broken time in society right now that music is such a healing antidote, so this year felt like the perfect time. I’ve been sharing playlists I’ve made with friends and family for years, so I want to open this up to a wider community and create a themed playlist each week, while also honing in on my letter writing skills.

(If you’d like to get a themed playlist delivered to your inbox each week with accompanying notes by Sarah, sign up at

And of course you continue to edit the Third Coast Review music page. What was your favorite article to write for us?

I interviewed Andrew Bird last year. Yep. That happened.​ Alas, it was over the phone, but I was absolutely over the moon getting to bask in his creative genius. I’m a Bird superfan and have seen the guy like, 16 times over nine years— no shame —so getting to discuss his artistry was unlike anything else.

Here at the Music page, we cover all genres from indie rock to hip-hop to classical. No artist or venue is off limits. Have a hidden gem or local artist you think Sarah should know about? Add a comment here, on our Facebook page, or email her here.
Emma Terhaar
Emma Terhaar
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