Where to Hear Great Blues and Jazz in Chicago

Music lovers crowd Chicago’s blues and jazz clubs where legendary figures as Von Freeman, Franz Jackson and Eddy Clearwater have played.

The city’s annual Chicago Blues Fest and Chicago Jazz Fest are popular free events that take place during the summer. Past performers of the Blues Fest include Ray Charles, B.B. King, Bo Diddley, Buddy Guy and Koko Taylor while the Jazz Fest shows off Chicago's vast jazz talent alongside national and international artists to encourage and educate a jazz audience of all ages.

Luckily one doesn’t need to wait for the free festivals to enjoy live music in Chicago. Many clubs offer nightly performances 365 days a year.

Green Mill is perfect for those who appreciate live jazz in a speakeasy atmosphere while Rosa's Lounge lets you enjoy live blues without the unnecessary pretentiousness of a club-like atmosphere.

Kingston Mines offers free or discounted cover to students, members of the military and seniors. Tourists staying at downtown hotels can walk to Blue Chicago, Winter's Jazz Club  or Andy's Jazz Club. Blues afficionados will want to explore Willie Dixon's Blues Heaven Foundation, the historic site of Chess Records while they're in town. 

Chicago’s jazz and blues clubs are cozy, dimly lit and have genuine character. Don’t be surprised if you’re seated alongside one of Chicago’s greats who is enjoying the music on his or her day off or just after finishing their own set.



Open at 8pm and the electric blues kick off at 9:30pm nearly every night of the week at B.L.U.E.S. It's a tiny Lincoln Park spot so it can get crowded, but the intimate atmosphere adds to its appeal. The walls are covered in history of blues...  Read More

Lincoln Park


Kingston Mines is the largest and oldest continuously operating blues club in Chicago, so it's a must for fans of the genre. Magic Slim, Koko Taylor, Sugar Blue, Billy Branch, Junior Wells and scads of blues' legends have packed the house with...  Read More



From Dizzy Gillespie to Rahsaan Roland Kirk, jazz legends have been playing owner Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase since 1947. The club has moved multiple times over the decades but has settled in comfortably in a acoustically refined South Loop...  Read More



If this club worked for Bowie and Clapton, it'll do you just fine. Buddy Guy, a hero to Clapton, plays at his club in January but don't let that stop you from enjoying local and national musicians performing seven nights a week. Don't be shy...  Read More



Whereas most other jazz clubs are strictly a listen and drink experience, Andy's Jazz Club, originally open in 1951 to entertain the pressman from the burgeoning newspaper industry, also offers an American dinner menu. The options range from...  Read More

Blue Chicago on Clark


Blue Chicago on Clark, open since 1985, has built an identity of presenting female blues vocalists (they often do not have their own band) backed up by talented Chicago blues musicians. It's probably the only club in town with a mission to give...  Read More



Rosa's Lounge, circa 1984, is not a 21st century re-creation homage to family owned blues bars - it's the real deal. When you want to hear great live blues without pretension but plenty of sincerity - this is your destination. Order a drink...  Read More

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


Traditional, modern, Bebop, improvisational. It's all at the sophisticated Green Mill which will transport you via dazzling grooves and improvised tunes of the early '30s and '40s. The club was insired by Clark Monroe's Uptown House in Harlem,...  Read More

Roscoe Village


Have a sturdy cup of coffee with dinner because you'll want to be all ears all night long at Constellation Chicago. Regulars like the two spacious performance areas (seating 50-75 and 100-150), with comfortable seating and great sight lines as...  Read More



Overlooking the Ogden Slip, Winter's Jazz Club is walking distance from countless hotels and restaurants as well as shopping hub, Michigan Ave. The club seats 100 in the performance space and 25 in the bar/lounge and you can expect...  Read More


Meet Jacky Runice

Born in Bucktown when bulletproof was a home safety choice and not a coffee order, Jacky Runice has been knocking around Chicago as a professional print, online and broadcast journalist and...  More About Jacky