|See the Chicago Reader music guide for club bookings and concerts. |
• B.L.U.E.S. (or B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted), 2519 N. Halsted St, Lincoln Park (walking distance from Fullerton station on the Brown Line). Su-F 8pm-2am, Sa 8pm-3am. Small but dedicated Northside blues bar. On Sundays one cover charge gets you into B.L.U.E.S. and Kingston Mines across the road.
• Buddy Guy's Legends, 754 S. Wabash Ave (cnr E. 8th St), South Loop.
• Kingston Mines, 2548 N. Halsted St, Lincoln Park (walking distance from Fullerton station on the Brown Line). Su-F 8pm-4am, Sa 8pm-5am. The larger of the blues bars on Halsted. Has a great set-up with two stages and two bands every night. One band plays for an hour on one stage then the other band takes over on the second stage for an hour - continuous music all night from 9:30pm.
• Rosa's Lounge, 3420 W. Armitage Ave. Blues bar.
• The Velvet Lounge. 2128 1/2 S. Indiana Avenue. 1-888-644-8007. (Probably take a cab). If you want to go to a bar that represents the real Chicago jazz tradition from Louis Armstrong right up to Pharaoh Sanders, then you must go to the Velvet Lounge. As owner/operator/saxophone player Fred Anderson points out, jazz at its best is nothing other than a black American folk music, and this bar is (one of) Fred's contribution to that folk tradition.
• Heartland Cafe. 7000 N. Glenwood Ave. +1 773-465-8005. Live band or open mic almost every night.
• The Double Door. 1572 N. Milwaukee (at Damen/Milwaukee/North intersection, right at the Damen Blue Line El stop). +1 773-489-3160, +1 312-559-1212.
• The Vic., accessible by Belmont El stop.
• The Metro. 3730 N. Clark. +1 773-549-0203, +1 312-559-1212.
• The Hideout. 1354 W. Wabansia (just easton of Elston, just north of North Ave). +1 773-227-4433. One of the finest drinking and hollering establishments in the U.S. of A., the Hideout hosts the best in alt-folk, bluegrass, Americana and just plain hillbilly music. The place is a bit hard to find, hidden as it is next to the city's main north-side refueling station for garbage trucks, but more than worth the trouble. Say "hi" to Maria.
• The Empty Bottle. 1035 N. Western Avenue. +1 773-276-3600. To Chicago as the Knitting Factory is to NYC, the Empty Bottle hosts a mix of touring indie-rock veterans, local bands, and on Tuesday and Wednesday nights the best in American and Dutch avant-garde jazz.
• Green Mill. 4802 N. Broadway. +1 773-878-5552. Jazz and lots of it. Go on a Sunday evening for the weekly poetry slam. National talents and perform on weekdays.
• Katerina's. 1920 W. Irving Park Road. +1 773-348-7592. A small and intimate setting for music most nights and poetry, performance and movies when there isn't music.
Larger concerts are held at the UIC Pavilion or United Center on the west side, Allstate Arena in Rosemont, the Soldier Field stadium, or larger amphitheaters in Tinley Park (Tweeter Center) and East Troy, Wisconsin (Alpine Valley Music Theatre).