Every now and then, Chicagoans choose to trade in their Spotify and ear buds for live music and drinks. Legends like Muddy Waters, Nat King Cole, and Benny Goodman rose to fame in Chicago, and the Windy City is still home to some of those amazing live jazz and blues venues. Enjoy a night out on the town in old school style at one of these six sexy spots:
Andy's Jazz Club & Restaurant
Andy’s is the perfect jazz joint to catch dinner and a show. Located just across the river from downtown Chicago in the hot neighborhood of River North, musicians take the stage and play live jazz seven days a week. You can make reservations for dinner – expect American fare fused with Cajun flavors — and if you aren’t in the mood to eat, you can just stop by for the performance. While the club can get crowded, the small tables in front of the stage create an intimate atmosphere.
The swanky Lincoln Park neighborhood might seem like a slightly odd setting for this venerable blues club, but it's one of the North Side’s most popular places for live music. B.L.U.E.S. musicians hit the stage every night starting at 9:30 p.m., and most of them are local Chicago artists. You can also catch some big names in this spot during national tours. In terms of space, B.L.U.E.S. is an intimate venue — expect to be standing elbow-to-elbow around the crowded bar and feel the beat of the music run right through your feet.
Constellation, one of the city’s newer jazz venues, opened its doors in Roscoe Village back in 2013. This performance space hosts a flood of experimental jazz groups, and you're almost always guaranteed a good time. Most performances happen later in the week or on the weekend, although can find Constellation’s doors open on the occasional Wednesday night too. Most nights the music will be playing and the drinks will be flowing until 2 a.m., and you'll have the perfect view as the stage is on the same level as the seats that surround it on three sides.
The Green Mill, dating back to the Prohibition era, is a must-visit for any jazz lover. The low lights and lavish décor of this cocktail lounge are perfect for an evening of live music. Frequented by infamous Chicago gangster Al Capone, the Green Mill has been an Uptown establishment for decades. This jazz venue is so famous it has even caught Hollywood’s eye a few times, popping up in popular films like “Ocean’s Twelve.”
Kingston Mines is a sister to B.L.U.E.S., located just down the street in Lincoln Park. This blues space has been a Chicago staple since 1968, making it one of the city’s oldest blues clubs. You can come listen to live performances any day of the week, and enjoy drinks and food from the extensive menu. Get messy with New Orleans-style barbeque ribs, or try the Cajun red beans and rice. Kingston Mines is a little roomier than the nearby B.L.U.E.S., so if you are looking for a late night out in Chicago, the Mines stay open to 5:00 a.m. on Saturdays and until 4 a.m. every other day of the week.
Rosa’s Lounge is a family-owned blues lounge located in Logan Square, the epicenter of Chicago’s hipster culture. Dating back to 1984, Rosa’s Lounge hosts modern blues artists and the greats that have been playing for years. Lurrie Bell, Honeyboy Edwards, Sugar Blue and more have all taken the stage here. Come eat, drink, and soak up the blues. Rosa’s promises to be “Chicago’s Friendliest Blues Lounge.”
While in Chicago, check out Saved by the Max!