Best Places to Eat and Hear Live Music in (and Around) Chicago

It’s Saturday night and you have choices to make. You’d love to see a good show but don’t have tickets. You’d love to try out a new restaurant but don’t have reservations. No need to stress, because we have a roundup of venues in and around Chicago that offer live music, great food and fun crowds, even if you didn’t plan ahead.

We’re talking live bands onstage, not just on the weekends, but almost every night of the week. Get your taste buds ready for upscale bar food, classy sit-down dinners and late-night BBQ grub! Dinner and a show is not a new concept, but it is a thrilling combination for almost any occasion. There is no shortage of live jazz, bluegrass, rock and more right in your neck of the woods.

Summer in the city is the best time of year. Be sure to check out these fantastic venues and eateries, rich in history and good times! Get out there and hit the town for good food and great entertainment.

Empty Bottle/Bite Café

Located in Ukrainian Village, this concert hot spot still has an authentic, edgy rock club vibe after more than 20 years in business! A hole-in-the-wall of sorts, this venue is usually anything but “empty.” In addition to the show, you can play a game of pool or indulge in the daily dinner deals at Bite Cafe. Try the Wednesday special chicken and waffles or hang out for the Friday fish fry! 1035 N. Western Ave., Chicago, 773-276-3600; 1039 N. Western Ave., Chicago, 773-395-2483

Photo by Clayton Hauck for Bite Cafe
Photo by Clayton Hauck for Bite Cafe.

Kingston Mines

Whether or not you realize that you live near one of America’s best cities for the blues, we are here to remind you that this famous blues nightclub has been rocking Chicago for 47 years! Seven nights a week, two stages with live blues bands play music until the wee hours of the morning. Be sure to come with an appetite to eat at Doc’s Kitchen, offering some of the best Southern-style ribs, chicken, wings and more! 2548 N. Halsted St., Chicago, 773-477-4646


This Highland Park venue brings an energetic city vibe to the suburbs. Avoid the headache of downtown traffic and still experience a night out with a fun crowd. Enjoy eclectic bar food amid an industrial, urban ambiance. Shows here feature an array of genres ranging from rock to jazz to country/bluegrass and even gospel for Sunday brunch. There are not many places that offer all of this on the North Shore. 1935 Sheridan Road, Highland Park, 847-780-4815

Photo courtesy of PLEEZ.

Andy’s Jazz Club & Restaurant

Historic and well-known, this establishment on the near north side of Chicago provides a unique dining experience. It’s one of the city’s most respected venues for casual-yet-sophisticated dining and live jazz performances by top Chicago artists. You will feel the toe-tapping rhythm all night long as you sit just feet away from the performers. If you are looking for a sit-down meal experience with no wait, make sure to reserve a table. 11 E. Hubbard St., Chicago, 312-642-6805

Space/Union Pizzeria

Since 2008, this spot has been a state-of-the-art venue for music fans of all kinds. Whether you’d like to reserve a table, take a gamble with limited seating or hit the dance floor, there is an individual experience for every concertgoer. Enjoy craft beers and wood-fired pizza at Union, boasting gorgeous windows and an urban-loft feel. Grab tickets for Ben Lee with Falls & Ryan Dillmore or any one of the other notable artists featured this summer! 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston, 847-492-8860, 847-475-2400

Schubas Tavern/Harmony Grill

A bar, restaurant and music hall in one, this place has some serious retro charm. Whether you want to jam out on a Friday night or enjoy an acoustic brunch on Sunday, Schubas can deliver as the trusty Lakeview neighborhood bar-venue combo. It’s an easygoing atmosphere with lots of standing room and hardly a bad seat in the house. Try the mac ‘n’ cheese followed by a rockin’ good show! Explore the music scene this summer and enjoy an evening with Peter Bradley Adams or an all-ages show with Chicago-based singer/songwriter Joe Goodkin. 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago, 773-525-2508

Photo by Carly Hurwitz
Photo by Someoddpilot.

Thalia Hall/Dusek’s Board & Beer

A historic landmark dating back to 1892, this venue was originally built as a public hall for the Bohemian community that once populated the Pilsen neighborhood. In 2013, the owners launched three new concepts within this property, including a public performance hall, a craft cocktail bar and a restaurant celebrating the union of food and beer. See the Michael Franti & Spearhead ‘Once A Day’ Tour with Elliot Root or spend your Fourth of July weekend with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros! Enjoy a unique beer selection including a milkshake stout and great hospitality with your meal. Diners must try the famed Juicy Lucy burger and the shellfish tier (lobster, oysters, clams, mussels, prawns) or any of the fresh seafood for that matter! 1807 S. Allport St., Chicago, 312-526-3851; 1227 W. 18th St., Chicago, 312-526-3851

Photo by Carly Hurwitz
Interpol. Photo courtesy of Thalia Hall