Blues fans will have already snapped up tickets to this year’s Chicago Blues Festival (9-11 June), but should you miss out, or simply want to experience the city’s vibrant music scene, here are more top spots to catch some tunes.


Buddy Guy's Legend

Icons such as Eric Clapton and David Bowie have performed at Chicago blues veteran Buddy Guy’s bar. Alongside the touring greats, this stalwart of the live music scene pulls in crowds every night with performances by local and national talents. Lucky listeners might even catch Buddy who takes the stage himself from time to time.


The Smoke Daddy

The only thing that can rival the soulful sessions at this teensy yet intimate nook is the BBQ feasting that accompanies it. Come for the blues and rockabilly tunes (regulars include local faves Chicago Bound, Expansion Project and the Urban Hog Wranglers), and stay for the tender ribs, succulent chook and diet-derailing sweet potato fries. Plenty of options for veg-heads, too.


Kingston Mines

Once a coffee house, now one of Chicago's oldest, biggest and most beloved blues bars, Kingston Mines is the place for late-night action, banging on until well after 3am every night of the week. Swing by to see big hitters across two stages in adjoining rooms, but prepare for things to get a lil’ rowdy post midnight. Not for the faint of heart.


Blue Chicago

Blues aficionados jive into this vibey lair where female vocalists such as Chicago’s very own Shirley Johnson (aka “Sweetheart of the Blues”) and veteran Claudette Miller steal the show. A mere 10 minute frolick from The Peninsula by foot, expect a warm and convivial ambiance and plenty of boppin’.


Chicago Blues Festival / 9-11 Jun, 2018 / Millennium Park / 11am-9.30pm daily

Buddy Guy’s Legend / 700 S Wabash Ave / South Loop / +1 312 427 1190 / 5pm-2am Mon-Tue, from 11am Wed & Fri, from 12pm Thu & Sat-Sun /

The Smoke Daddy / 1804 W Division St / Wicker Park / +1 773 772 6656 / 10am-11pm Mon, 11am-11pm Tue-Thu, til midnight fri, from 10am Sat, til 10pm Sun /

Kingston Mines / 2548 N Halsted St / Lincoln Park / +1 773 477 4647 / 7.30pm-4am Mon-Thu, 7pm-4am Fri, til 5am Sat, 6pm-4am Sun /

Blue Chicago / 536 N Clark St / River North / +1 312 661 0100 / 8pm-1.30am Sun-Fri, 8pm-2.30am Sat /