Cole's Chicago

Visitors know Chicago's got some of the best blues and jazz in town but we've also got the stage set for more intimate acoustic performances. Check out a list of some of our favorite go-to venues for smaller unplugged showcases.

Despite winter's harshness, especially on snow days, Chicagoans love getting out to live music events. And there's nothing better than sitting back with your favorite drink, surrounded by the warm, feel-good vibes of an intimate showcase featuring acoustic performances at a neighborhood bar. It feels like a concert made just for you - a single serving portion of aural delights. So, stop by some of our favorite acoustic showcase venues as chosen below and make sure to check individual calendars for concert updates.




3159 N. Southport Avenue

If you're going to see an artist you like at Schubas, make sure to get there early as this is one of the best places to see a show - it fills quickly. Regardless of what area of the floor you're by, though, the entire room sounds great. There are a few tables available by the walls but otherwise expect a standing room view which isn't a bad thing. Another cool thing here is that the artists have to walk right by you to go to the stage. Shh and score!


Elbo Room

2871 N. Lincoln Avenue

Elbo Room

This is a classic spot for live music. We like the option of listening to acoustic performances upstairs while rockin' out to full-on concerts in the lower level. Each night features a different genre so you'll never run out of music to listen to here. No wonder this place has been around for over 25 years.



Cole's (pictured at top)

2338 N. Milwaukee Ave

This is definitely one of the most laid back bars you'll come across. This Logan Square dive bar features plenty of great local music including the Chicago Singles Club-curated fourth Friday of the month concert. The place is small, intimate and perfect for a weekday night out. Plus, drinks are stiff and cheap, just like they should be.



La Catrina Cafe

1011 W. 18th Street

Aside from its wonderful array of tea, coffee and hot chocolate selections (try the Mexican chocolate version), this cute, warm and inviting calaca-centric cafe also boasts a beautiful gallery and small performance area. From pop up artist displays to open mic and live recordings of web hosted programs, this is a great place to catch the work and music of neighborhood artists.


Honky Tonk BBQ

1800 S. Racine

Honky Tonk BBQ

Yes, you can have a taste of lip-smacking BBQ while enjoying the sounds of a live performance. From rockabilly and jazzy bossa nova to country western tunes this stage has seen it all. The best part is every single act is top quality, just like Chicago.



Reggie's Music Joint

2105 S. State Street

This is a music lover's dream venue. Not only does Reggie's include two completely different venues (there's the smaller Music Joint and the mini-arena type Rock Club), there's also a record shop in between and a rooftop bar. Say what? We won't brag about that time we found a classic on vinyl for only 50 cents. You're welcome.

Written by Sandra Trevino