Dance, Jazz and Comedy Clubs among the Best in Chicago Nightlife

Nightlife isn’t narrowly defined in Chicago as just a dance club or bar. While that scene might appeal to some, there is also a host of other after hour options for both locals and visitors including comedy clubs, live musical performances and even theatrical acts.

We offer a carefully vetted selection to let you explore Chicago nightlife on your own. Closer to downtown Chicago are Studio Paris Nightclub in the River North neighborhood where you can dine on classic French cuisine at Paris Club before the club opens its doors at 10 pm on the rooftop. Not far is The Underground Chicago, one of the city’s hottest dance clubs.

Just north of downtown is Second City which is best known for launching some of the biggest names in the business including Tina Fey and Dan Aykroyd. Performances occur throughout the day with 11pm shows as an option on some evenings.

For more lounge experience than loud music clubs, head to sultry Violet Hour in Wicker Park, Green Mill Cocktail Lounge for some smooth jazz or Rosa’s Lounge for blues.

A variety of live musical performances are on the playlist at spots like Martyrs’, Abbey Pub and perennial favorite: Old Town School of Folk Music. 

These places promise a stellar experience and a taste of the city that you just can't miss.

A dance club with less posh, more punk. If you want a place that gets you dancing, look no further. The DJ spins a mix of techno, rave, funk, house and well, anything you can dance to. Expect an alternative mix of clientele. Located in Chicago's...  Read More

This Irish pub has been garnering an increasingly steady following since its opening in 1973. The pub is part restaurant, part club as it features a full menu of authentic Irish food (fish and chips, shepherd's pie and Irish sausage) as well as...  Read More

An intimate concert hall, it has a cool lounge feel with its wide cushioned and very comfortable seats. While some might cringe to be seated in nosebleeds, there really isn't a bad seat in the theater as it was built by musicians for musicians....  Read More

Second City
Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of Choose Chicago

The world's premier comedy troupe, The Second City has launched some of the biggest names in the business. You may have heard of them: Gilda Ratner, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Mike Myers, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey and about 500...  Read More

Remember those places where the musicians just want to play to people who love to hear their music? Rosa's Lounge is that kind of place. No frills, just a classic joint to hear great live blues without the unnecessary pretentiousness of a...  Read More

It's French bistro by day, nightclub after dark. On weekdays the kitchen serves classic French dishes in the warmly decorated restaurant until midnight. The rooftop of lounge Paris Club turns into a glossy nightclub at 10pm. Be seen sipping...  Read More

North Center

Martyrs' features a musical lineup that is all over the board: a broad mix of genres from traditional bluegrass bands to improvised hip-hop, reggae funk and jazz. Equally impressive is the diverse and fun crowd. You won't feel out of place here...  Read More

Underground shut down for six months in early 2013 to undergo extensive renovations, opening up again in August to a hot new look that's complete with fresh interiors, newly exposed spaces, sleek d�cor, updated tech elements and an...  Read More

Green Mill Cocktail Lounge
Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of Choose Chicago

Trendy folks and jazz aficionados regularly flock to this cool joint. Once a hangout of Al Capone, Charlie Chaplin and Gloria Swanson, the place has tons of character. It was also a speakeasy during Prohibition, meaning that Green Mill retains a...  Read More

Violet Hour
Photo courtesy of Violet Hour

Don't let the outdoor décor fool you. It's boarded up and one friend wondered if anything was even inside. Once you (after a long wait in a line outside, most likely), you enter through heavy velvet curtains and into a dark cocktail lounge....  Read More


Meet Megy Karydes

Megy Karydes has spent more than 20 years as a professional writer and most of her life in Chicago. While she’s traveled extensively internationally, visiting each of the 50 states is on her...  More About Megy

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