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6 Alt Spots for Blues & Jazz

Check out these places hosting some of the best live blues and jazz music in Chicago.

Chicago is known for its acclaimed blues and jazz clubs. But once you’ve hit the big-name places, such as Buddy Guy’s Legends (owned by the legendary blues guitarist) and the historic Green Mill (a Prohibition Era jazz speakeasy), why not check out some alternative spots? We’ve rounded up six great places to hear live blues and jazz that may have flown under your radar.

 

BLUES

Rosa's Lounge Chicago

1. Rosa’s Lounge is a long-time Logan Square staple, founded in 1984 by drummer Tony Mangiullo and his mother Rosa, for whom the club is named. The story goes that after a chance meeting in Milan with blues stars Buddy Guy and Junior Wells, Tony was so inspired by the Chicago blues he decided to immigrate to the Windy City and start his own club, with his mother following to help out with the new venture. Today, Rosa’s is known for showcasing a range of blues styles, from traditional to Chicago modern. 3420 W. Armitage Avenue

2. You can’t miss the bright blue facade of B.L.U.E.S. in Lincoln Park. Located just down the street from the ever-popular Kingston Mines, B.L.U.E.S. may be smaller in size but is just as mighty in blues talent. The club primarily showcases local blues players, and the intimate room means there’s no bad seat in the house. Serious blues lovers flock to this place, and even blues musicians on their night off are known to hang out at the bar and mingle with music lovers. 2519 N. Halsted Street

3. On a typical day, River Roast is a bustling restaurant known for its sizzling roasted meats carved tableside, along with outstanding Chicago River views. But on the weekends, River Roast is all about the music. Inspired by Chef John Hogan’s love of live blues, River Roast hosts Blues & Brunch every Saturday and Sunday. Dig into a plate of rabbit and waffles as you listen to some of the best blues musicians in the city. 315 N. LaSalle Street

JAZZ

Winter's Jazz Club

4. The newest addition to Chicago’s music scene is Winter’s Jazz Club, close to Navy Pier and overlooking the waters of the Ogden Slip. This elegant club takes its jazz music seriously, established as a listening room with a no-talking policy during shows in reverence to its performers. The club is intimate, seating 100 at cozy cabaret tables for two. Straight-ahead and classic live jazz is presented six nights a week. 465 N. McClurg Court

Constellation

5. Located just north of the Bucktown neighborhood, Constellation is located in an unassuming building on busy Western Avenue. But step inside the door and you’ll hear some of the most progressive jazz music in the city. Local musicians and touring jazz groups make up the roster at Constellation, which features two performance spaces and a bar. Constellation often partners with local performing arts organization Links Hall. 3111 N. Western Avenue

6. The Whistler is known as a Logan Square hot spot for award-winning craft cocktails. But it’s also gaining a reputation as a great place to hear live jazz. Stop by on a Sunday, Monday or Tuesday evening and you can catch everything from cutting-edge swing to improv jazz. Come early to guarantee getting a seat in the tiny club. Bonus: there’s no cover charge. 2421 N. Milwaukee Avenue

 

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