Chi-town might be more associated with blues and jazz but the city also boasts a robust offering of reggae music. Whether you like to sway to classic lovers rock or "wine up" to dancehall beats, Chicago has you covered. Although many bars and clubs include reggae in their regular music mix, these are the Chicago spots to experience non-stop reggae, Red Stripes included.
An iconic club that helped establish the Chicago reggae scene almost 30 years ago, The Wild Hare & Singing Armadillo Frog Sanctuary is the ultimate place to hear live reggae. Re-located from their original spot near Wrigley Field, the club is located in the heart of Lincoln Park and is the go-to venue for major reggae acts including the Marley's, and Morgan Heritage as well as established local faves like Devon Brown and Gizzae. The new location also features a menu of Jamaican dishes like jerk chicken and vegetable curry.
2610 N. Halsted | Lincoln Park | wildharemusic.com
A popular music venue that regularly features live reggae shows as well as R&B and hip hop, The Shrine is the place to be for Rock Steady Sundays, when DJS spin a hip-shaking mix of reggae, dancehall and soca rythms. Check the calendar for live performances, which have included Sean Paul, Beenie Man and Mavado.
2109 S. Wabash | South Loop | theshrinechicago.com
A West Loop lounge that hosts local reggae performances as well as an eclectic mix of poetry and comedy shows, Red Kiva attracts a crowd that appreciates reggae and world beat. The laid back vibe fosters a more intimate experience where guests can get up close and personal with homegrown talent like Ugochi.
1108 W. Randolph | West Loop | redkiva.com
This charming neighborhood eatery serves up spicy sounds as well as meals. Mr. Brown's Lounge is a great place to hear reggae classics and Caribbean hits while sinking into the West Town scene. There's no cover for Real Vibes Friday, which highlights an explosive mix of reggae, dancehall, afrobeat, hip hop and soca by reining Caribbean DJs like Boom Bostic. For an unfiltered selection of reggae, dancehall and soca, head to Extreme Caribbean Nights on Saturdays. Note that the downtown location doesn't feature music.
2301 W. Chicago | West Town | mrbrownslounge.com
For almost 20 years, Sub T has been a Wicker Park mainstay, supplying a diverse selection of music in a grungy, dive setting. The weekly Thursday night Reggae Gold dance parties provide a solid line-up of familiar reggae hits with a little reggaeton thrown in. Ladies are always free.
2011 W. North | Wicker Park/Bucktown | subt.net
Photo courtesy of Wild Hare