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Classic Chicago in bar form, Uptown’s Green Mill isn’t unlike a pricey glass of champagne with a fleck of cigarette ash floating near the rim. In operation since 1907 and once a haunt for Capone and showbiz personalities, the lauded jazz mecca remains a mix of Prohibition-era swank—replete with white tablecloths and once-lush murals on the walls—and a charming dinginess that includes floors practically worn to the wood and hard-edged bar soap in the restrooms. There are three beers on tap and a bottle of Malort hanging out in the background, but if you’re ordering a drink, you’re ordering a manhattan. Not only because it’s perfect and the bartender will likely call it a “mean manhattan,” but also because there’s a baby grand behind the bar and cash registers that perhaps once held bills touched by Billie Holiday—and you don’t order a Jack and Coke with a backdrop like that. Get there early on a Sunday—before the crowds pile in for Marc Smith’s legendary Uptown Poetry Slam—and maybe you’ll even get to shoot the breeze about Studs Terkel and Maxwell Street Market, while concurrently criticizing everything there is to criticize about the modern world. There is absolutely no other place in this city like the Green Mill. —Kevin Warwick

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