Ask ChicagoNow: What is the best music venue in Chicago?

Ask ChicagoNow: What is the best music venue in Chicago?

ChicagoNow is a group of bloggers from all sorts of different backgrounds. One thing that helps tie them all together? Chicago.

With so much collective experience with the city, we’ve decided to put that knowledge to use by posing some of the oldest and most popular questions about Chicago to the group.

What is the best music venue in Chicago?

“The Riviera is a good venue — solid sound system run by experienced pros, nice open floor and spaces up-top as well, with decent bar service. Fond memories, too — I once watched an overzealous dancer join Richard Butler of the Psychedelic Furs mid-song, frugging away next to him. He was still frugging when a security guy lumbered to retrieve him and carried him off one-handed like you’d carry a small rolled-up rug, arms and legs still flailing away. The Furs were so tight they never missed a beat.” — Mark Andel, Hot Dog Diaries

“Depending on what you are looking for. Schubas will always rank #1 for me. Park West has amazing acoustics. City Winery is lovely in some ways, but too much in others. I could talk about this all day. Green Mill if you’re looking for jazz, of course.” — Jocelyn Geboy, An Unquiet Chicagoan

“Empty Bottle, The Beat Kitchen, these are the places to go, then there’s Park West for excellent sound but not always artists that push the envelope as much, if someone you love is playing there that’s the place to see them, then Lincoln Hall and Schubas for quality acts with relatively good sound and production, Lincoln Hall really is an excellent venue, very wide stage, quality acts, smart crowd, there are more, S.P.A.C.E. in Evanston, a couple other spots in Chi, but these are the first ones that come to mind, and probably the best, oh yeah Thalia, can’t forget Thalia”. — Brian Kremen, ConFIdences

“I’ll actually give a shout out to FitzGerald’s in Berwyn. One of the rare suburban venues I’ll track out to.” — Michael Messinger, Mysteries of Life

“I love Schubas too. I can walk there in 10 minutes so that’s an added bonus. Park West holds a special musical memory for me. I saw Warren Zevon there when he was first starting out. But it’s balanced by the Elvis imitation show a few years later. House of Blues has a Gospel Brunch on Sundays which is a lot of fun.” — Howard Moore, I’ve Got The Hippy Shakes

“I love the Metro. It’s big enough to feel like An Event, but small enough that there’s nary a bad place in the house, and that it’s not too hard to meet the band afterwards if you’d like.” — Nicolle Neulist, Picks & Ponderings

“Schubas!” — Lucy Rendler-Kaplan, Small Girl, Big City

“The Green Mill. For one thing, it still looks like 1930 inside and it has all those great stories attached, like Al Capone and his favorite booth, the escape tunnels when it was a speakeasy, the fact that it was once owned by Machine Gun Jack McGurn (purportedly one of the guys behind the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, the Joey Lewis story etc. But it is also maybe the most fun spot to hear live music. Once during a trade show at McCormick Place a visitor asked me to show him Chicago’s most famous/best spots. We bounced around to Miller’s, the Billy Goat, a blues club and other likely locations. It was getting late, well after midnight, and we should have gone back to the hotel and gotten a good night’s sleep in preparation for another day on the floor of McCormick. But I just couldn’t resist. ‘You gotta see one more place. You game? We’ll have to take a cab.’ We arrived and could hear the joyous screaming inside the Green Mill from the curb. We went in and there was a New Orleans-kind of band (lots of horns) whaling on stage. It was rollicking in there like there was no tomorrow. We closed the joint. Next day I ran into the guy near our company’s booth. ‘I feel like I got kicked out of hell for eating snot,’ (old Sullivan saying) I told him. He thanked me again for the Green Mill.” — Floyd Sullivan, Waiting4Cubs

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Lead image via Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune

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