Whenever I travel to a new city, I try to make sure to visit a jazz club. The jazz scene in Paris, Tokyo and Rome are unreal! There's just something about going out and listening to jazz at some grimy club, while sippin' on a classic cocktail that transports you through time. In New York, I would yearn for a midnight jam session with Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane at Minton's Playhouse or The Five Spot. What an amazing era for music! Those days of jazz are gone though, as are those venues (sad face).
A few friends recommended The Green Mill to me, as an old school jazz club destination in Chicago. It is well known historically as a hangout spot for one of Al Capone's gangsters, back in the day, and inspired a scene in a Frank Sinatra movie, The Joker is Wild.
The Green Mill is in North Chicago, and was at least a fifteen minute cab ride from the city center. Chicago is pretty huge! But we got there and were greeted by the awesome flashing green and gold sign. So retro!
The club has been around since 1907, and it has really maintained an authentic prohibition-era vibe-- both inside and out. It's neat that they aren't trying to recreate it or anything. It's the real deal!
Check out this metal (copper?) lighting fixture! SO AWESOME!
There was this large disc of lights towards the end of the bar, à la spaceship District 9, hovering over the bar.
I wish I got a better pic of the bar. It wrapped around half the venue space, it was really neat. You can kinda see it here.
Do you see that statue in the corner there? She is Ceres, Goddess of Harvest. Pretty hilarious.
Neither Matt or I remember the name of the band that night. Sorry, jazz band! We had a great time though. Awesome historic venue for sure! I highly recommend making the trek out.
THE GREEN MILL
4802 North Broadway
Top photos by Matt K. Many thanks to Weird Chicago, for the extensive background info on The Green Mill. They conduct Weird CHI tours! Awesome!