Chicago Bar Project since 2000
© The Chicago Bar Project Written by Sean Parnell

Chicago's Top Jazz Clubs

Chicago's Top Jazz Clubs

"Jazz washes away the dust of every day life."

– Art Blakey


The term "jazz" itself was first coined in Chicago by the Chicago Tribune in 1915, so it should come as no surprise that the Windy City features some of the best jazz clubs in the world.


If you know of another top jazz club within the city limits of Chicago that offers more, email us.

Jazz Seven Nights a Week

Green Mill

From traditional jazz to swing orchestras to the Uptown Poetry Slam every Sunday night, the Green Mill features some of the best jazz on the planet all where Al Capone, "Machine Gun" Jack McGurn and even Charlie Chaplin used to frequent ($6-12 after 10pm)

Green Mill Cocktail Lounge

Others Chicago Clubs Featuring Nightly Jazz

  • Jazz Showcase – Chicago's most nomadic jazz club that once hosted Duke Ellington, John Coltrane and Dizzy Gillespie ($20-25 cover)
  • BackRoom – the Gold Coast's oldest jazz club offers nightly performances that also touch on soul, funk, R&B ($20-30 cover with half price coupon on their website)
  • Pops for Champagne – nightly River North jazz to go with the largest selection of champagne in the Midwest (125 options plus beer, wine & spirits; $8-15 cover)
  • New Velvet Lounge – live South Loop bebop and free-form jazz fusion nightly highlighted by the "Velvet Jam" on Sundays starting at 6:30pm with a literal (Arts Midwest) Jazz Master and owner Fred Anderson ($10-25 cover)
  • Davenport's – Wicker Park nightly jazz ($10-40 cover) and karaoke Fridays (one drink minimum)
  • Katerina's – North Center nightly jazz ($0-10 cover); dinner served
  • Swirl Wine Bar – River North jazz Tuesday-Saturday (no cover, two-drink minimum)
  • Coq d'Or – more hotel bar than jazz club but does feature jazz Tuesday through Saturday (no cover)
  • City Life – Chatham nightly jazz (<$10 cover) with blues on Mondays

Chicago Reader: this week's jazz performances

Other Notable Jazz Venues

  • Bar on Buena – jazz on Sunday nights (no cover)
  • Marie's Pizzeria & Liquors – Jeannie Tanner Trio on Thursdays at 7pm (no cover)
  • Cafe Mestizo – jazz improv session on Sundays at 5pm (no cover)
  • Charleston   jazz jam on Thursdays at 10pm (no cover)
  • Morseland – Jimmy Bennington's Color and Sound Sundays at 8pm and Monday Night Jazz at 9pm (various artists)
  • CuatroBossa Tres on Sundays at 11am (brunch, no cover)
  • Motel BarNicholas Barron Sundays at 6pm (no cover)
  • Edgewater LoungeChicoMaloTrio on
    Sundays at 4pm (no cover)
  • New Apartment Lounge – the legendary Von Freeman plays every Tuesday (no cover)
  • Elastic Arts Foundation – listening room (no alcohol) for independent and cutting edge jazz (no cover, donations accepted)
  • New Checkerboard Lounge – alternating jazz & blues (phone for listings, $10-20 cover)
  • Empty Bottle – Jazz Series on Wednesday nights, selected and programmed by Ken Vandermark and John Corbett
  • Old Town Ale House – no live music but they have perhaps the best jazz-only jukeboxes in Chicago (no cover)
  • Gale Street Inn – piano jazz Thursday through Sunday
  • Peninsula Lobby Bar – Saturday night jazz (no cover)
  • Green Dolphin Street – Tuesdays: Jose Valdes and the Mambo Zombies (no cover), Wednesdays: John Burnett Orchestra ($10 cover); occasionally jazz on the weekends when not used for private parties
  • Phyllis' Musical InnIn Transition Quartet on Mondays (no cover)
  • Heartland Cafe – counter-culture classic that features occasional jazz along with folk, reggae and other world music (no cover)
  • Pump Room – Golden era celebrity central features live piano jazz on weekends (no cover)
  • Hotti BiscottiJim Baker, Steve Hunt, Brian Sandstrom, and Mars Williams on Sundays nights
  • Quenchers Saloon – occasional jazz mixed with rock and open mic (no cover)
  • Hungry Brain – Transmission Series on Sundays at 10pm (no cover)
  • Rodan – Jeff Parker, John Herndon and Josh Abrams on Tuesdays at 10:30pm (no cover)
  • Joynt – swing jazz in "The Swing Room"
  • Signature Lounge – live weekday jazz (Sunday-Thursday) on the 96th floor (no cover)
  • Leadway – Friday jazz (no cover)
  • Skylark – jazz on Mondays (no cover)
  • Long Room – Jazz on Sunday nights (no cover)
  • Sterch's – Sterch's Jazz All-Stars featuring Beau Barry on Tuesdays at 7pm (no cover)
  • M Lounge – Jazz Tuesdays and Wednesdays 7pm (no cover, two-drink minimum)
  • Underground Wonder Bar – occasional jazz
  • W.C. Handy's Bistro – Saturday night jazz at 6pm (no cover)
  • Woodlawn Tap – jazz on Sunday nights (no cover)

Jazz in the Suburbs

  • Balcon del Mediterraneo (Burr Ridge)
  • Bill's Blues (Evanston) – jazz jam with Mike Finnerty & the Heat Merchants on Mondays
  • Braxton Seafood Grill (Oak Brook)
  • Chambers (Niles)
  • FitzGerald's (Berwyn)
  • Geno's Place in the Park (Calumet Park)
  • Gibson's (Rosemont)
  • Jerry's (Country Club Hills) – jazz jam on Tuesdays
  • Pacific Blue (Glen Ellyn)
  • Pete Miller's Steakhouse (Evanston)
  • Philanders's (Oak Park) – live jazz every Thursday, Friday & Saturday night
  • Viking Steakhouse (Winfield)
  • Village Tavern (Long Grove) – Roger Pauly's Dixieland Jazz, nightly


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