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.
Equal parts sophisticated seafood restaurant, innovative sushi bar, and down-home oyster joint, Shaw’s Crab House has something for seafood palates of all stripes. The chefs base the expansive menu on what’s in season and available fresh. Dishes might incorporate Lake Michigan whitefish, Atlantic yellowfin tuna, Nantucket Cape scallops, or Alaskan king crab. Just-shucked oysters hit plates in myriad varieties, from Nova Scotia to New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island, and star in the signature Oyster Shooter cocktail—a spicy concoction of an oyster, Absolut Peppar vodka, cocktail sauce, and Tabasco. Shaw’s sushi chef rolls specialty makis, including the Godzilla roll, which combines tempura shrimp, avocado, barbecue eel, smoked salmon, and tobiko and imparts the ability to roar blue flames. He also plates rice-free rolls, such as the spicy lobster roll filled with Maine lobster and avocado. As diners dig in at tables shrouded in crisp white cloths, the dining room plays host to blues-based live music, which fills the space every night of the week.
The nondescript brick building on a nondescript Hyde Park street corner would be easy to overlook, were it not for the howling blues tunes booming out from within. Past the front hall plastered with press mentions and award clippings, a boisterous crowd of well-dressed locals and wide-eyed college students packs the intimate, rectangular space. They lounge on upholstered vinyl chairs at the floodlit bar, sipping stiff drinks and tapping their feet to the music. Up on the stage stands the source of the infectious melodies—Chicago blues legends like the Mighty World Band and Shorty Mack. The musicians often call for audience participation, when the lively guests unhesitatingly raise their voices to sing along with soulful tunes that earned the joint accolades from the likes of Fodor's and The Travel Channel.
Featured on 190 North and ChicagosBestTV.com, Le Fleur de Lis's chef Allen J. Rochelle Jr. crafts a menu of creole classics from his hometown in southwest Louisiana. According to reporter Brittney Payton of ChicagosBestTV.com, "Every single bite has a kick, a punch, a smack" of heat—including oysters, catfish, and shrimp deep-fried in a spice-infused buttermilk batter. Cajun seasonings also light a fire under classics such as crayfish étoufée and meat-packed jambalaya. Outside, crimson-coated brick walls depict a jazz band belting tunes, while inside, figures in neighborhood scenes try to convince diners to share their meals.
Founded by an Italian immigrant who was love struck by the blues, Rosa's Lounge gathers minor-key maestros and their fans into a rollicking joint celebrated by Frommer's as "One of the best joints in town for spirited, authentic Chicago blues." Throughout its cozy, low-lit caverns, guests groove to the soulful strains of the guitar, the impassioned wail of the harmonica, and the haunting tinkle of the triangle. Since 1984, performers from a wide spectrum of styles have strode across the stage, from traditional Delta musicians such as Pinetop Perkins and David Honeyboy Edwards to the latter-day Chicago-school folk such as Billy Branch and Sugar Blue.
Lively jazz tunes bounce off the brick walls, exposed rafters, and blue-tinged décor of Close Up 2 Jazz's South Loop location. Bartenders shake cocktail mixers in syncopation with smooth jazz that flows from a floor-level stage. Up-and-coming artists mix R & B and classical jazz in the loft-style lounge, whose music and ambiance have attracted numerous mentions in the press. Just steps from the LaSalle/Van Buren Brown Line stop, the chic club leaves its doors open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. on weekdays and 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Saturdays to catch the postwork crowd and recently retired "L" train cars.