If You Have a Sitter: The Music Scene
Chicago is home to the world's most popular and widely heard style of
blues and is an important venue for jazz. So book a sitter, grab some
dinner, then head for one of these standout clubs. Just remember, it's
going to be a late night: many music venues don't get hopping until
after 11pm. Plan to arrive between 9 and 10pm. to allow time to get
seats in the club, have a drink, and relax before the show. Most clubs
continue to pulse until the wee hours, depending on what's happen-
ing on stage.
First, how to catch the blues:
Celebrate the women of blues at Blue Chicago, 736 and 536 N. Clark
St., River North ( & 312/642-6261 ), which showcases top female talent.
The cover charge is $5 to $8.
B.L.U.E.S., 2519 N. Halsted St. between Wrightwood and Fullerton
avenues, Lincoln Park ( & 773/528-1012 ), satisfies the most ardent fans
with live music 365 days a year, since 1979. The dark, narrow club
places patrons up close to performers. As at Kingston Mines (described
later in this box), expect to spend the evening standing. The cover is
$4 to $12.
If Chicago is the body and soul of blues music, then Buddy Guy's
Legends, 754 S. Wabash Ave. between Balbo and 8th streets, South
Loop ( & 312/427-0333 ), is its heart. Everyone from Eric Clapton to
Muddy Waters has stopped in to jam and listen to the best in blues at
this club owned and operated by blues legend Buddy Guy. Every Jan-
uary, Guy plays a series of shows that sell out early. The cover charge
is $6 to $8.
Keep an eye out for Jake and Elwood at the House of Blues, 329 N.
Dearborn St. at Kinzie Street, River North ( & 312/923-2000 ). Dan Ack-
royd, also known as Elwood, is an owner. The hotel, restaurant, bar,
and concert venue books a wide variety of acts and stages a popular
Sunday gospel brunch for about $35. The cover varies from about $8
to $50 for a big name.
Kingston Mines, 2548 N. Halsted St. between Wrightwood and
Fullerton avenues, Lincoln Park ( & 773/477-4646 ), has two stages'
worth of blues greats. It may not be up to par with Buddy Guy's, but
balcony seats, be aware that you are going to be way, way up. The view is still
good, but if you have any fear of heights (or want to see expressions on the per-
formers' faces), you might want to try for tickets on the main floor. 22 W. Monroe
St. & 312/977-1700. Subway/El: Red Line to Washington.
Storefront Theater Every kind of lively art, from theater, dance, perform-
ance art, chamber opera, puppetry, and cabaret to staged readings, finds a home
here. Located in the Gallery 37 Center for the Arts, in the heart of the Loop's
revitalized theater district, this state-of-the-art black box theater is providing a
forum for Chicago's best artists to show off their accomplishments. 66 E. Randolph
St. & 312/742-8497. Subway/El: Brown Line to Randolph.