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Guide - Nightlife - Live Music

Andy's Jazz Club

11 E Hubbard St, Chicago, IL 60611 312-642-6805

Description: RIVER NORTH. It's jazz, jazz, jazz at this Hubbard Street entertainment venue. Andy's has live acts playing nightly. So, no matter what day of the week, you get in the mood to hear true Chicago jazz. The menu here is quite extensive and goes beyond the typical bar food offerings. A wide array of groups perform, but most play traditional bebop and swing.
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2519 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60657 773-528-1012

Description: LINCOLN PARK. It's tiny, a bit dingy, smoky, and crowded ­ in other words, the perfect place to see live blues. The club features both obscure and well-known local artists (think Otis Clay and Magic Slim). Testing your blues trivia here would really be a test because the slightly older crowd consists almost exclusively of aficionados. Shows are highly interactive, and CDs of nightly and past performers are for sale.
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Blue Chicago on Clark

536 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654 312-661-0100

Description: RIVER NORTH. Blue Chicago on Clark mainly showcases female vocalists who really know how to sing the blues. The mellow and soulful sounds that emanate from this spot are legendary. The room is long and tavernesque with a stage at one end. A small dance floor is located near the stage for those who can't resist. A full bar is on premises, allowing for a drink or two with the show.
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Buddy Guy's Legends

700 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60605 312-427-1190

Description: SOUTH LOOP. Attempts to appear seedy only partially veil this club's polished interior, and yuppies and tourists often show up. This large, mellow blues joint offers jam sessions on Monday nights, and local acts perform Sunday through Thursday. Friday and Saturday, then, showcase national artists. A plethora of memorabilia fills the cavernous room, and a Southern kitchen that's from lunch 'til midnight keep patrons satisfied. Despite its touristy reputation, the club is a great place to see live blues in comfort.
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632 N Dearborn St, Chicago, IL 60654 312-266-1944

Description: RIVER NORTH. Whether you choose to spend your time dancing on the lower level to hard-hitting house and trance or lounging around with a cocktail on one of the upper floors, Castle is varied enough to please even the most finicky night owls. Top-notch international DJs ­ think Armin van Buuren, Markus Schulz, and DJ Tiesto ­ spin a fierce mix of house, trance, techno, hip-hop, and more. An excellent sound and light system and a whimsical indoor waterfall keep things interesting.
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Close Up 2

416 S Clark St, Chicago, IL 60605 312-385-1111

Description: THE LOOP. Blue-hued lights and small stage make for an intimate jazz experience at Close Up 2. The only live smooth jazz club in Chicago, Close Up 2 features some of the best local and nationally recognized musicians. VIP memberships are available for jazz aficionados.
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Coq d'Or

140 E Walton St, Drake Hotel, Chicago, IL 60611 312-932-4622

Description: MAGNIFICENT MILE. This bar has become a Chicago landmark. It sports Prohibition-era decor, and low lighting sets the mood. The martini is the signature drink, and cabaret-style pianists and singers entertain nightly. The menu includes a number of items that come from the kitchen of the Drake's notable Cape Cod Room. Try the Bookbinder Soup or a fresh salad. Several televisions provide access to news and/or sports games, depending on the day and time. Casual attire.
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Dragonfly Mandarin Restaurant & Lounge

832 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607 312-455-1400

Description: WEST LOOP. This after-work spot draws a trendy group of yuppies looking to sip martinis and munch on delectable Chinese appetizers (or "teasers" as the menu labels them). Start off with a signature Dragonfly Martini and a plate of crab puffs or Shanghai spring rolls.
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Fadó Irish Pub

100 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60654 312-836-0066

Description: RIVER NORTH. This River North hotspot offers authentic Irish pub atmosphere with food, drink, and entertainment to match. Inside, you'll find quintessential dark-wood bar areas and plenty of "pub" ambiance, though the place does tend to get packed quickly after the sun goes down. A patio towards the rear is a favorite hangout, no matter the season. Fadó features live music ­ dancing is always encouraged ­ as well as special events to celebrate soccer (football!) matches. To mark your visit to this Chicago favorite, be sure to stop by the gift shop and pick up a few things Irish.
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Funky Buddha Lounge

728 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60610 312-666-1695

Description: RIVER WEST. Local artist Suhail's giant steel Buddha marks the entrance to this cool spot. Leather and faux-leopard seating areas run the length of the main bar in the dark Moroccan/Middle Eastern-inspired den. Two bars, a cozy VIP section, and a small dance floor are packed nightly. Cosmopolitans are the house specialty. Buddha also has some of the best DJs in town. Check out Jesse de la Pena on Wednesday and Saturday and percussionists Ya Ya and Yamcouba on Fridays.
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Green Door Tavern

678 N Orleans St, Chicago, IL 60654 312-664-5496

Description: RIVER NORTH. Enter Green Door, and you'll be amazed by its large collection of antiques and memorabilia. Everything from Coca-Cola signs to mounted animal trophies takes a place, along with political items and model airplanes. There's also live music on alternate Friday nights. The menu features sandwiches, pastas, burgers, and about a dozen beers on tap.
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House of Blues

329 N Dearborn St, Chicago, IL 60610 312-923-2000

Description: RIVER NORTH. Although HOB features live blues every night at 10pm, it's far from being just a blues place. National, international, and local groups of all musical stylings show up to play in the intimate concert hall with great acoustics. The multi-floored complex is decorated in a funky juke joint-meets-the-opera house style that features folk and Outsider art. Numerous opera boxes offer great views, and the Foundation Room (members only) is a luxurious treat.
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Kingston Mines

2548 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614 773-477-4646

Description: LINCOLN PARK. This spot's mantra ("Hear the music, drink booze, and talk loud") is strictly enforced. With two stages and the only 4am-liquor license among Chicago's blues clubs, Kingston Mines is packed nightly. Local blues and jazz artists often stop by here after their sets at other clubs. With over 30 years of operation, the club recently expanded and now includes three storefronts and a late night kitchen. If you enjoy loud, riotous entertainment, this is the joint.
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Nick's Beer Garden

1516 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 773-252-1155

Description: WICKER PARK. Live R&B, blues, jazz, soul, and funk make this establishment a favorite late-night haunt. Adding to its appeal are a number of beers on tap, more than 15 bottled varieties, pool tables, pinball machines, and a well-stocked jukebox. The festive interior is tropical in nature, complete with flamingos, pineapples, and other island-style decorations.
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Park West

322 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60614 773-929-5959

Description: LINCOLN PARK. This intimate, dark theater has tiered seating surrounding the stage and is a wonderful small venue. Bars and cocktail service accommodate a diverse clientele, and a diminutive dance floor is available during some performances. Concerts feature big-name national and international acts, and musical styles vary widely, encompassing pop, folk, Latin, classical, jazz, and swing. The venue also hosts theatrical revues and private events. Call ahead for events and show times.
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Pops for Champagne

601 N State St, Chicago, IL 60611 312-266-7677

Description: LAKE VIEW. This long-lived live music club and champagne bar (25-plus years!) is a city mainstay, now relocated from its original Lake View neighborhood. A sleek, stylish bar lets patrons sip and mingle, while a downstairs lounge envelops folks in intimate surroundings and terrific live jazz. The shop sells sparkling wines and offers lunchtime and light evening fare, including scrumptious housemade desserts like brown butter cheesecake, mini tarts, and chocolate fondue with berries. A raw bar and caviars are included in the upscale offerings, and more than 125 champagnes are available. Jazz sets begin at 9pm.
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Pop's for Champagne

601 N State St, Chicago, IL 60654 312-266-7677

Description: RIVER NORTH. This long-lived live music club and champagne bar (25-plus years!) is a city mainstay, now relocated from its original Lake View neighborhood. A sleek, stylish bar lets patrons sip and mingle, while a downstairs lounge envelops folks in intimate surroundings and terrific live jazz. The shop sells sparkling wines and offers lunchtime and light evening fare, including scrumptious housemade desserts. A raw bar and caviars are included in the upscale offerings, and more than 125 champagnes are available. Jazz sets begin at 9pm.
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Redhead Piano Bar

16 W Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60654 312-640-1000

Description: RIVER NORTH. The sign above this bar's door features a sultry redhead who invites visitors inside. The piano bar draws a rather upscale crowd, plying them with martinis and strains of piano music. Jazz, swing, pop, rock, and blues can be heard most any night in a room stylishly decorated with sheet music on the walls. The bar serves single malt scotches, wines, cognacs, and ports, along with a signature chocolate martini that features Godiva Liqueur, Bailey's, and Belvedere.
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The Zebra Lounge

1220 N State Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60610 312-642-5140

Description: GOLD COAST. This place, which is located on the first floor of a vintage apartment building, has been around since the 1930's. Its zebra wallpaper, leather booths, and mountains of outlandish collections would allow it to double as a museum of tacky memorabilia. It feels like someone's recreation room. There are only 10 tables and a handful of bar stools, so come early. Piano music, from Sinatra to torch songs and sing-a-longs, are a nightly event. The Zebra is a classic that draws a hip, young crowd.
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Underground Wonder Bar

710 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654 312-266-7761

Description: RIVER NORTH. Established in 1989, this venue is open 365 days a year, and Lonie Walker, who founded the place, still plays three nights a week. Live music is offered nightly to an incredibly eclectic group of patrons. Jazz and blues are the main focus, but acoustic guitar and piano music are often featured, as are friends who hop on the makeshift stage. The limited size allows performances to be very interactive. Ordering or bringing in carryout food is acceptable. Truly a classic.
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