Blues Clubs, Chicago
A friendly place, with great music and musicians, that's a lot more impressive inside than it shabby exterior suggests. Owned by the Blues legend Buddy Guy, the club gets rave reviews from the locals, and is arguably the best Blues club in the city. It's about 10 or 15 bucks for a night of Blues music, but you can turn up earlier in the day and enjoy a warm up session for free while you eat some excellent Cajun food. If you like what you hear, you can stick around and spend the rest of the evening there.
Dress Code: Relaxed.
"[Buddy] Guy's earthy soul and gutsy acoustic performances make any latter-day "unplugged" record sound clean cut by comparison."
– Guitar Player
Any music fan has to hit at least on Blues club in Chicago. For the most amazing live music in the city, Buddy Guy's is the place to go! Bands such and The Rolling Stones to Buddy Guy's friend Eric Clapton have graced the stage for impromptu jam sessions. You never know who may show up on any given night!
Dress Code: Casual, anything goes!
With Chicago being home of the blues I wanted to visit a blues club and decided on Buddy Guys partly because we had a 2for1 entry (see general tips) also for the fact it was downtown in the S.Loop. The area is maybe a little dingy but moreso because its quiet but I felt safe enough.
The show was great and the bar opens till fairly late 2am I believe. They do not take reservations so getting there early will secure you a seat. Mon-Fri 11am - 2am, Sat 5pm - 3am, Sun 6pm - 2am. The food was good quality and they had an extensive menu. There is no dress code.
One of the most famous blues club in Chicago (The Shirley Johnson Blues Band plays here a lot). At $10 for weekend and $8 cover for week nights, it's not a bad price! And if you consider that one admission fee covers this club and its sister club Blue Chicago then that is a fantastic deal indeed for a city that harbors the Blues!
This blues club is about 4 blocks away from Joe's Stone Crab (60 E. Grand) so these two make a great night out.
Dress Code: Casual
After our evening outing to the Chicago White Sox-New York Yankees baseball game ended, the group decided they wanted to sample a bit of Chicago's nightlife - so I went along for the ride too. A couple of the group knew that the House of Blues would be a good spot to check out on a Wednesday night so it wasn't long before we arrived in a taxi. I was really surprised to see that it was inside a strange looking auditorium building that was attached to the weird circular Marina City Towers complex I had spotted beside the Chicago River on my earlier wanderings around the city! There was no problem getting in and the band (I didn't get their name) was really good as they belted out the blues.
Dress Code: We were just in casual clothes and grabbed a table like the one in the second photo. The group ordered a round of Tanqueray & Tonic drinks with a slice of lime in each, so I ordered one too. Not a bad drink at all, even though I had never touched gin again for decades after making myself sick on cheap Lemon Gin while a teenager!
Some people were up dancing as the night wore on and finally the band played its last song and we were ushered out the door into the cool evening airs. Since it turned out that I was only four blocks away from my hotel, I walked home alone (the others were staying at a different one) and went back the next day to take the exterior shot! It was a great way to spend an evening and reminded me of some of the little hole-in-the wall nightclubs I had earlier experienced in Nashville, Tennessee while on business trips.
When we spotted Blue Chicago around the corner from our hotel, we thought we simply could not skip on the experience of catching a live blues music show in Chicago, the "Blues Capital of the World"! Blue Chicago is a small but very popular club, and it was filled with a nice mix of tourists and locals. Linsey Alexander's band (http://www.linseyalexander.com) happened to be playing that night, and they sure showed us a really good time! Although we tried standing at the edge of the dance floor at the beginning of the show, someone told us to move forward and considering his size, there was no arguing with him. So we ended up right next to the stage and after we'd had a Goose Island beer, there was no stopping us from dancing all night long! I couldn't leave without buying Linsey Alexander's CD, which came with an autograph, a big hug and a kiss!
Admission was $10, and it gave access to both Blue Chicago clubs, which are located just a short walk away on the same street (pretty cool if you want to catch two different bands). There's also a small souvenir store where you can get t-shirts, posters and so on.
Dress Code: Very casual
If you want the real thing in an authentic blues club then go no farther. Yes, their is a B.B. King club and a Buddy Guy club in downtown Chicago but, Kingston Mines is the real deal. Kingston Mines is located at 2548 N. Halsted St. which is about 1 or 2 miles from central downtown. They have great bands here and at many times they have 2 bands which alternate their sets. You can watch/listen to one band and go to the other room to enjoy the other band during their break, AWESOME. My wife ordered a burger with fries here and said it was the best burger she had in a long time. I believe the bands play until four in the morning......we never made it that late!
I've been here during three of my trips to Chicago. Each time I swore that the performers that night were better than any Blues musician I'd ever heard before. This place is worth the trip, especially if you're staying down near the Mile.
If you go to Chicago with me, just write it down that you'll be at Buddy Guy's at least once!
Dress Code: Whatever you're wearing.
As a visitor, I did not know the city as well as my hosts. I simply went where they took me. One evening, we visited this night club / bar / restaurant. I had a wonderful time.
The live music that evening was provided by Linsey Alexander. http://www.linseyalexander.com/
While his band played, he mingled with the audience singing using a portable microphone. He was brilliant. Nearly everyone danced to his singing. I had one of hte greatest evenings of my life.
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This is Chicago's oldest Blues bar. Opened in 1979 in Halstead and with music every night. A great night if your into Blues. The bar is small so its good to get there early.
Dress Code: You can wear whatever you like. Pretty laid back in this club, dressing up would look out of place.
The place is called "The Bossman Blue's Center". It used to be Mr. Tee's Lounge. One time, I went during a snow storm...Bossman was one of the only people there. If you go on a slow night, Bossman will tell you endless stories of blues masters he's met over the years while pumping songs into the jukebox. (Bossman was born on a plantation in Mississippi and moved to Chicago as a youngster.) On nights with a band, the place is full and the music is loud. The stage is just a corner of the room cleared out.
This is as close to a Mississippi Delta Juke Joint you're gonna get. Don't expect any polished blues. It's "gut-bucket" or "monkey-grip" blues as the Bossman likes to say.
There is generally no cover, but a 2 drink minimum is in place. Quite often there is free food. Bossman is cash only.
Dress Code: None.
blue chicago is a popular tourst stop, but i did enjoyed it. the cover is only $8.00 and the music is to die for. if you like life blues- try it. it is downtown location and this is tehierweb site
Dress Code: casual dress code !
If you want blues then probably the most famous is Blue Chicago. Two locations, great music and atmosphere. A cover charge of about US$10 which gets you entrance to both places. There is also an art gallery with some fab work.
Dress Code: Not to strict, smart/casual.
I put in a tip before on how the Blue Chicago is a tourist trap, but after having been another time since then, I'll have to say that this is also a good place to spend a night drinking and listenning to live music.
The Blue Chicago has two locations on Clark street for which you pay 1 cover charge for. That's good since you can go to either bar and check out what's going on.
The live acts at the Blue Chicago sorta seem to be the same every night. A new band plays but they have the same female singers. I went two months apart and the same woman was on stage with a new band singing the same Tracy Chapman song ....in the same way she did it last time. Annoying, but really, other then that, the place rocks.
Dress Code: You can only wear styrofoam. Ok, anything goes.
There are many blues bars in Chicago, but I consider this my favorite. Kingston is split into two sides, with great bands always playing on one of the sides. On any given night you can see all types of people, like Depaul kids, old school players, Saturday Night Live alums, and suburban retirees enjoying the music. They're open until 5am on weekends and is a great way to end a night watching Kid Dynamite and the Chi-Town Hustlas. A must see for all types of people!!!
Dress Code: No dress code, there are all types of people here. Dress comfortably.