Chicago’s Hidden Gems for Live Music

Kristin Stahlke

Even though Chicago is the third largest city in the country, it can be easy to get stuck in a routine of visiting the same rotation of bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Even as an avid music fan like myself, there are still an infinite amount of places on my list to experience throughout the city, and I don’t see that list shortening anytime soon.

Attempting to research the next hot spot to visit can get overwhelming, so I’ve done the work for you! Below is a list of five bars that feature live music multiple times a week, with locations scattered throughout the city. 

Uptown: The Green Mill / 4802 N. Broadway
If you’re looking for a bit of Chicago history with your entertainment experience, The Green Mill is the place for you. Standing at 113-years-old, The Green Mill rightfully earned its place in the Chicago music scene as it continued hosting legendary jazz musicians in the 30s and 40s. Fast forward to 2020, and there’s live music nearly every night of the week for a cost of $4 to $15. 

Wrigleyville: 365-viii / 3658 N. Clark St
One of Wrigleyville’s newest additions to the bar scene features live entertainment space for up to 400 guests, heated floors, and a retractable rooftop. 365-viii aims to promote Chicago’s local music scene in a laid back setting. While not all of us have the bravery to venture out to Wrigleyville on a Saturday night, 365 will get me there.

Wicker Park: Empty Bottle / 1035 N. Western Ave 
If you like loud, local music (with the occasional touring artist dropping by), and cheap drinks in a casual setting, the Empty Bottle is for you. Home in Wicker Park for its 28th year, the Empty Bottle features live music seven days a week, pool tables, and plenty of drink specials. 

Avondale: Sleeping Village / 3734. W Belmont Ave
Sleeping Village is one of the city’s most well-kept secrets. While it’s only been open for just over two years now, Sleeping Village has featured touring acts during their stops in Chicago like Empress Of, Arkells, and hometown heroes Beach Bunny. They also have $1 beer nights a few times a month, featuring performances by local musicians. 

Pilsen: Tack Room / 1807 S. Allport St
What once was a carriage house lives a piano bar located on the first floor of Thalia Hall, featuring an extensive food and beverage list, multiple nights of live music every week, and plenty of patio seating. Drinks at Tack House before a show at Thalia Hall is a Friday night that I can get behind. 

If I listed out all of the bars and venues in Chicago with live music, it would be a never-ending list. If you look around hard enough, there are even more gems worth exploring, and places that will be sure to shake up your weekend routine.

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