If you’re looking for live music, Chicago is the place to be! The city is famous for its food, architecture, sports teams, and live music venues. From piano bars to corner taverns, Chicago offers live music every night of the week, in every genre imaginable.
Here are ten of the best Chicago bars that feature live music:
Davenport’s Piano Bar and Cabaret on Milwaukee Ave is the best bar around for cabaret and piano. It’s a true piano bar, with local and touring cabaret acts. Located in Wicker Park, they also host ‘informal sing alongs’ all year round. Live music can be heard on Mondays, and then Wednesdays through Saturdays. There is no cover in the piano bar, except on Friday and Saturday nights. The Cabaret has its own schedule, with shows most Thursday through Sunday nights.
Another great place to hear some live music is Schubas Tavern. In fact, according to Rolling Stone Magazine, this is one of the best in America! Located on Southport, the taverns has hosted live music every single night for over 20 years. No matter what type of music you like, you’ll find it in this great bar! From Honky Tonk to Jazz to Indie to Pop or Country, Schubas’ bands play it all. They also have a delicious grill, so you can eat, drink, and be merry – all while listening to live music!
Another favorite of live music Chicago style is actually a wine bar, the City Winery. The one in Chicago is actually the second of its kind, with the original found in New York City. The City Winery is one place in Chicago where you will find a laid back setting, but also boasting some big name artists. Typically, concerts take place on weekends, but they also have local artists on weeknights who play a wide range of different styles of music, and a live music brunch every Sunday, with music starting at 11:30 a.m.
Most Chicagoans will point you to Uptown’s Green Mill Lounge if you love live jazz. The bands here play everything from traditional jazz to Dixieland jazz to contemporary and progressive jazz. There are even some bebop jazz combinations that play at the Green Mill. The bar has a warm, friendly atmosphere with a great staff, cheap prices on food and drinks, and live music every night of the week.
If you’re a baseball fan, and are familiar with the Wrigleyville area, stop into The Cubby Bear for good food and great music! Live concerts are held regularly, and the bands cover all genres of music, from the 80s to metal to reggae and more! They typically offer live music every night of the week, including both local and national acts. The Cubby Bear is consistently rated one of the best bars to see live music by locals!
Since 1992, The Empty Bottle has offered tons of great live shows with low cover charges. They are located in the Ukrainian Village of Chicago, and they offer live music every single night of the week. The genres and styles of music change from night to night, so check their website to view the upcoming concert calendar!
Smart Bar is another popular bar that offers live music in Chicago. They predominantly play house, techno, and disco here. The music is great, and this is a place that also has a dance floor, so go and dance, or simply listen to the music!
Joe’s Bar on Weed Street is definitely a place you will want to seek out live music in Chicago. Many popular bands have played at Joe’s, without letting anyone know they will be there, so you never know who you will find on stage! At Joe’s, you’ll hear live music nearly every night of the week, and like other venues, they play a wide range of genres. The bar is located near Lincoln Park, and hosts both national and local acts on their stage.
Known as “the most loved small venue in Chicago”, The Hideout hosts live music every night, and sometimes more than one band per night. From record release parties to classical music to bluegrass quartets, there is something for everyone at The Hideout.
Finally, Honky Tonk BBQ can’t be missed if you’re a fan of local live music! Honky Tonk BBQ has, of course, some of the best barbecue around (maybe the best in Chicago!), and while you chow down on that pulled pork you can also listen to jazz, local music, and national touring acts. On the Saloon Stage you will find jazz on Wednesdays and Sundays, and on Fridays and Saturdays, the type of music fluctuate.
No matter what your favorite type of music is, you can likely find it live, on stage in Chicago, and most likely at a comfortable, laid back neighborhood bar. The food is good at these bars, too, so why not make a night of it? Settle in, order dinner, and enjoy the sounds of some great local or national acts!
Photo by fifthdisc