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Best jazz club

Culture & Nightlife, Uptown No Comments »

Photo: Isabella Coelho

The Green Mill

With the recent passing of Fred Anderson and retirement of Von Freeman, Chicago lost two great jazz venues, the Velvet Lounge and the New Apartment Lounge, respectively. Fortunately this historic Uptown lounge, once a Capone hangout, is still going strong. Its beautiful Art Deco fixtures provide a classy setting for appearances by some of the biggest names in the biz plus weekly residencies by talented locals like organist Chris Foreman and pianist Patricia Barber. Please respect the club’s policy against talking during performances—Barber has been known to come down from the stage and scream at noisy audience members.

The Green Mill
4802 North Broadway
(773)878-5552
Greenmilljazz.com

Audience choice:
Green Mill

Best of Chicago 2011

Best bar to time travel in

Culture & Nightlife, Uptown No Comments »

Green Mill Cocktail Lounge

Many people come to Chicago to soak up its rich history as an origin point for blues, but few tourists remember that before the blues era Chicago was a jazz town. Luckily, this is a legacy that still breathes, and swings, at this legendary Uptown venue. The perfect way to end a long night, swathed in the ambience of real jazz and an art deco interior that makes the Cheesecake Factory look like a sad cartoon, The Green Mill offers free cover on Friday and Saturday, after 1am and 2am respectively. Here you can sip dry martinis until the sun rises at the same tables Al Capone once graced with his infamous presence.

4802 North Broadway
(773)878-5552
greenmilljazz.com

Best of Chicago 2010

Best idea to forget about from Chicago 2016

Audience Choice, City Life No Comments »

Second Cityitis

There was a pathetic undertone to much of the discourse surrounding the Chicago bid for the Olympics, which went along the lines that we need this to be a world-class city, that too much of the planet still thinks “Al Capone” when they hear “Chicago,” to which we say: bunk! In all of our world travels, we’ve never had Al Capone come up in conversation. Architecture? Yes. Michael Jordan? Yes. House music? Yes. The weather? Sadly, yes. But Scarface Al? No. Kind of makes you wonder what crowd those other guys are running in. If we want to be world-class, the first step is to realize we are world-class and not to worry about it. World-class cities never fret about their status; they simply do what makes them great and make sure the world knows about it. So let’s get over this inferiority complex and start marketing our assets. Like our architecture. Our beautiful lakefront. Our extraordinary cultural life. And while we’re at it, make sure we tell everyone how nice our weather is. In summer.

Audience choice:
Hosting the Olympics

Best audience comments:
“Obama + Oprah = Unbeatable”; “‘Let Friendship Shine.’ Friendship isn’t chrome!”; “Britney Spears and whatever she does or doesn’t do”; “Forget tearing down the Michael Reese Hospital campus! We’ve already lost one of the Gropius-designed buildings there and Chicago is ready to destroy more at any moment.” “That I could have made a boatload salvaging my condo.”

Best of Chicago 2009

Best local cemetery

Audience Choice, Goods & Services, Midlothian, Suburbs No Comments »

Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery

There is no such thing as ghosts. But maybe there is! (There isn’t.) Chicago’s cemeteries, from Graceland to Acacia, are almost across-the-board beautiful and often enchanting, but Bachelor’s Grove, located south near Midlothian, is considered one of the most haunted cemeteries in the country, with a vast history of apparition sightings and ghostly photography. It’s rumored that Al Capone and his henchman used the cemetery’s adjacent pond to dispose of some of the clan’s dirty work, and the graves herein date back to the 1840s. Just don’t try to sneak in late at night, as you might be apprehended by the police for trespassing, have to return to Midlothian for a court date and be embarrassed in front of a judge for getting caught while “ghost-hunting.” Just sayin’.

143rd and Ridgeland Avenue
bachelorsgrove.com

Audience choice:
Graceland
4001 North Clark
(773)525-1105

Best of Chicago 2009

Best new Al Capone shrine

Food & Drink No Comments »

Room 21
Jerry Kleiner’s latest South Loop eatery is a typically beautiful space serving above-average cuisine (this time its classic American; think upscale surf and turf) in an environment where the buzz both inside and about the venue makes you feel like you’re going to an exclusive party. This time the buzz is all about Scarface Al, who once used the space to warehouse his illegal hooch until Elliot Ness battered down the doors. As the renovation was underway, Kleiner’s guys discovered a secret tunnel connected to the building next door that led to a mysterious Room 21. Never one to miss a marketing gift when it falls in his lap, Kleiner not only named the restaurant after the discovery, he cleaned up the tunnel and gives customers tours himself when he’s around.
room21chicago.com
2110 South Wabash (312)328-1198

Best of the Best: Green Mill

Culture & Nightlife, Uptown No Comments »

Green Mill
The one-time hangout of Chicago’s most legendary citizen Al Capone, this Uptown jazz club has been a Chicago landmark for the better part of a century, back when the neighborhood was considered a distant suburb. Booking jazz seven nights a week, the Green Mill prospers for its sultry atmosphere, late-night hours (5am on Saturday nights) and remarkably unpretentious attitude. Don’t let the constant crowds keep you away-get in and wait for a seat, it’s worth it.

4802 North Broadway (773)878-5552

Best of Chicago 2002