Reggies entertains music fiends with a trio of havens all located within steps of each other. Reggies Rock Club is an all-ages and 17-and-up music venue, hosting an eclectic variety of local and touring bands against a backdrop of graffiti murals. Upstairs, Reggies Music Joint provides a 21-and-up crowd with a full bar, nightly music, and comforting pub fare including jumbo wings and grilled sandwiches. Clientele can swig from 25 drafts on tap while bands perform on stage, sports play on 17 flat-screen TVs, and memorabilia lining the walls just sits there. Next door, Record Breakers offers a cadre of new and used music merchandise for fans to peruse, spanning genres from punk to rock to Johnny Cash. A hefty library of CDs and DVDs bridges the physical-digital divide, and hard-to-find vinyl satisfies analog lovers.
Like any pub found in its namesake counties, the Cork & Kerry boasts an interior of dark, shiny wood paneling and exposed brick accented by stained glass windows. Unlike many of those pubs, however, the venue sprawls across 6,000 square feet, its crowning jewel a multi-level beer garden. In summer, the entire garden provides a sunny spot to enjoy one of the 20 beers on tap, a selection anchored by the constant presence of Guinness and Harp. Come winter, a portion of the patio boasts enclosed walls and climate control so that guests can still enjoy Chicago’s sunny, if snowier, vistas.
Only a true icon can name their venue Legends and get away with it. Luckily, famed blues artist Buddy Guy fits the bill. Known as “the crowned king of Chicago’s electric blues scene,” Buddy has more than 50 years in music notched into his guitar strap, as well as six Grammy Awards and a coveted spot in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Inside his beloved blues club, Guy can be seen on stage every January during sold out shows, easing into the playful stomp of Muddy Waters’ “Hoochie Coochie Man” and his soulful, woozy solo in “Stone Crazy.” The performance space holds fans’ intrigue with other performances throughout the year and has hosted such renowned musicians as John Mayer, ZZ Top, David Bowie, and Eric Clapton. Seven nights per week, live blues music drifts through the air while guests dine on southern Cajun soul food, from blackened bourbon shrimp to cat fish po’ boys and chicken and sausage jambalaya. Music fans can sneak away from their meals to fawn over blues memorabilia such as original artwork, Grammys awards, and guitars signed by B.B. King, Carols Santana, and the late Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Close Up 2 certainly has the jazz club vibe down—the dimly lit lounge, the deep blue color scheme, the furnace that runs on burning saxophone reeds. Into this mood-setting space step local duets and trios as well as big bands and big names in jazz, all of whom perform on weeknights until 2 a.m. and weekends until 3 a.m., causing the diverse audience to tap their toes between sips of cocktails.
Market restaurant and sports bar caters to a wide audience, courting die-hard sports fans with numerous flat-screen televisions—both indoors and out—and a complimentary shuttle to all United Center sports games, as well as wooing trendy diners with a menu of artfully plated eats. Its starters and entrees combine American classics with fun and elegant ingredients, such as popcorn shrimp mixed with actual popcorn and a drizzling of truffle oil, mini Kobe corn dogs, or hummus crafted directly in the Market kitchen. In warm weather, its nearly 5,000-square-foot rooftop bar exposes patrons to a dazzling view of the Chicago skyline and allows for easier spaceship boarding.
Packed with neon beer signs, model planes, and sundry antiques, Green Door Tavern is as colorful as the characters who’ve passed through it in the past 140 years. Crooked yet charming—just like George Washington’s wooden-toothed smile—this two-story pub is one of River North’s few remaining examples of wooden, balloon-frame architecture. This type of structure was outlawed when the city’s fire code was modernized following the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. A grocery store operated out of the tavern’s storefront for nearly 40 years, then an Italian restaurant moved into the space in 1921. When the 18th Amendment was passed, the building became something else as well: a speakeasy. During Prohibition, a green door signaled that alcohol could be found inside. Many of the bar’s fixtures date back to that era, lending a vintage air to a wide assortment of whiskeys and modern brews such as Guinness, Half Acre, and Two Brothers. Today, the speakeasy portion of the venue is a private room flanked by a wooden bar, exposed bricks, and a collage of stoplights and street signs. On many nights, a small stage hosts local comedy troupes such as the Speakeasy Improv Players. Upstairs in the main dining area, servers dispatch orders of burgers, chili, and barbecued ribs.
At Joe’s on Weed St., sports games and pennants fill the front space, and a stage in the rear hosts a bevy of live musical acts. Conveniently located near the North and Clybourn Red Line station, the acoustical walls of the full bar have vibrated with the sounds of such artists as O.A.R., Keith Urban, Run-DMC, and Rick Springfield.
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