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The Chicago Blues Bars Thread

james_timothy

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I've lived in outside Chicago for a long time and never explored the blues bars of Chicago. This must change. Due diligence, web research... out of many four are candidates for a start for the slumming it that is blues bar-going:
  1. (chicagostudioclub) Harlem Avenue Lounge: Everyone seems to like this place, though I have to laugh about the directions "next to the White Castle". It has its devoted fans. And it really does seem to be a dive, which actually goes well with its location near the head of Route 66.
  2. (chibarproject) Kingston Mines. Sounds fun: "rough around the edges", 2 stages, crowded main crowded room, a smaller room with screen of the big stage act(!). Open to 4am.
  3. (centerstagechicago) Buddy Guy's Legends: "The crowd consists mainly of tourists, suburbanites and blues aficionados." two of which aren't ringing endorsement, though we'd be part of the suburbanite class. Whatever it takes to keep alive. Still, two locals have pointed out its absence in the original list, and it is Buddy Guy, so in it goes. The inside looks the least divey of all of these bars, actually.
  4. (wineandleisure) B.l.u.e.s. (on Halsted), seems to feature local bands, and I always love places with big long bars (the Comstock in SF, the J&M cafe/dive in Seattle). Intimate seems to be the catchphrase, probably because Kingston Mines is bigger and is across the street.
  5. Blue Chicago on Clark: this one attracts me because I love female singers and this bar prides itself in booking female blues singers. Vintage, intimate, the inside seems set up in a funky way, narrow with tables along both sides. And Blues Chicago has a good blues station streaming.
That is in increasing order- I think we'll either go to B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted or Blues Chicago on Clark first. Cognoscenti will notice that there are no South Side bars in my list (does Buddy Guy's Legends really count?); mostly this is access from the far west suburbs; our lives don't include walking down the street to these bars on a whim, alas. But a man must do what a man must do, and this includes
 

billsayers

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I been to Kingston Mines a couple of times and had fun on both occasions.

Pretty divey with $10 entrance but the place has good acoustics and real blues musicians...the kind where heavy set guys rests their guitar on their stomach.
 

countdemoney

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While not a bar, be sure to take a tour of the old Chess records offices.
 

james_timothy

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Originally Posted by billsayers
I been to Kingston Mines a couple of times and had fun on both occasions. Pretty divey....

Looking over the inside shots, I just think divey goes with the territory. So, hey- great; I like dives.

Originally Posted by countdemoney
While not a bar, be sure to take a tour of the old Chess records offices.

Keith Richards calling it Mecca. I think I'll wait for summer for that pilgrimage.
 

ChicagoRon

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You forgot Buddy Guy's Legends, which features Buddy himself two times a year and some other pretty good acts. Also it's in the loop, which is more convenient for visitors.
 

james_timothy

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You and Kwilk both pointed this out; I think my Seattle bred distaste for anything successful kept it off the list. I added it, it is a good idea. It is actually the easiest to get to using Metra for us.
 

FunLovinStyle

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When I was a tourist in Chi-town, my buddies and I went out to Buddy Guy's Legends. Two bands were playing that night and both put on ready good sets. On a future trip, I'd try one of the slightly more obscure venues though.
 

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