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Music Bars

Recommended Music Bars

  • Burlington
    Music venue
    Burlington Logan Square
    Removed from the well-populated bar village sitting just east on Milwaukee Avenue, the Burlington—which had a hefty stake in the neighborhood's realm of hip prior to the recent gold rush—reinvented itself by adding a well-booked, acoustically sound back-room music venue »
  • California Clipper
    Corner Tap
    California Clipper Humboldt Park
    This neighborhood landmark, complete with vintage neon sign out front, offers a uniquely appealing combination of dive bar affordability and art deco class—nowhere else in the city can you feel quite as Bogart-and-Bacall while kicking back cheap PBRs. Jeans and »
  • Delilah's
    Music Bar
    Delilah's Lincoln Park
    Imagine if every last bit of grit, street cred, authenticity, and tattooed flesh in all of Lincoln Park were forced into one delightfully creaky, dimly lit, two-story bar. Wait, that actually happened. And if that's not enough, the whiskey selection »
  • Empty Bottle
    Music venue
    Empty Bottle Ukrainian Village/East Village  48
  • Green Mill
    Music venue
    Green Mill Uptown  4
    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 »
  • Hideout
    Classic Bar
    Hideout West Town/Noble Square  37
    The Hideout's location, just off Elston in the middle of an industrial corridor, seems like an unlikely one. But that doesn’t stop lines from forming outside for the dance parties, live music shows, theatrical performances, and soup nights it hosts. »
  • Hungry Brain
    Classic Bar
    Hungry Brain Roscoe Village  5
    Hungry Brain is one of the coziest spots in Chicago. You've probably passed this small bar over and over and never realized it was there. Its interior is comfortable and lit with the glow of beer signs and Christmas lights. »
  • Schubas
    Music venue
    Schubas Lakeview  6
    A good (and historic!) escape from a less-than-stellar set at this music venue—you can't hear the music when the door to the concert space closes—the bar offers a good, if small, selection of beers on tap. Schubas has a special »
  • Smart Bar
    Music Bar
    Smart Bar Wrigleyville  3
    The club tucked beneath the Metro Cabaret is also the most popular dance destination in the city, booking cutting-edge DJs locally (Derrick Carter, Frankie Knuckles) and internationally (DJ Harvey, Omar-S, Ben Klock). The interior's a bit clubby, but the dance »
  • Whistler
    Music venue
    Whistler Logan Square
    Part storefront art installation, part eclectic music venue (and record label), mostly craft-cocktail mecca, the Whistler is a Chicago destination, forget about neighborhood spot. Just don’t let the Friday- and Saturday-night lines deter you from visiting at more reasonable hours. »
  • Zebra Lounge
    Music venue
    Zebra Lounge Gold Coast/Mag Mile/Streeterville  1
    It’s tucked into the lobby of a surreptitious apartment building. It’s a piano bar. It takes its name seriously, with pictures of zebras and zebra-striped red lamps. It smells like a toilet. It might be the saddest bar in the »

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