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The Late Show — These Chicago venues keep the vibe alive into the wee hours

A night bar is made better with cocktail from Whistler 2421 N. Milwaukee Ave. Chicago. | Neil Burger photo

A night at the bar is made better with a cocktail from the Whistler, 2421 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. | Neil Burger photo

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Updated: March 3, 2014 4:22PM



It’s Saturday at 9 p.m., and the night’s just getting started. So why are so many of Chicago’s concert halls already halfway through their headliners? Not at these moonlighting venues, where the music doesn’t rest until morning.

Andy’s Jazz Club & Restaurant

This venerable spot started in the 1970s hosting Jazz at Noon sessions but has since expanded the programming to daily performances at 5 and 9 p.m. The mostly local performers range in style from swing to Latin and Afropop flavors although a Spotlight Performer Series brings in touring musicians — check out the rich history on the Wall of Fame. Food and drink menus are also available.

11 E. Hubbard St.; andysjazzclub.com

Open till 2 a.m. daily

Check out: University of Illinois professor Dana Hall’s Black Fire, every Tuesday

Bub City

Get a taste of Nashville, Ten.., at this new River North country bar and restaurant, a project from the Melman siblings (HUB 51, Paris Club). For the 16-foot entertainment stage, they turned to the team at Joe’s Bar on Weed Street to curate a rotation of up-and-coming Americana, bluegrass and country charmers. If drinks like the Coffin Nail and Mexican Firing Squad are too stiff, head to the underground tiki bar Three Dots and a Dash.

435 N. Clark St.; bubcitychicago.com

Open till 2 a.m. daily; 3 a.m. Saturdays

Check out: Singer-songwriter Shawn Lacy, Feb. 13-14

Burlington

It only made sense that this bar in the Logan Square community would expand into a music hall a few years back; disc jockeys have spun spot-on playlists since the beginning. See up-and-coming Chicago acts get their start in the moody back room (like Angel Olsen once did). Burlington offers 10 beers on tap and deals like $2 Pabst Blue Ribbons.

3425 W. Fullerton Ave.; theburlingtonbar.com

Open till 2 a.m. daily; 3 a.m. Sat.

Check out: Riotous dark rocker Shilpa Ray, Feb. 4

Cobra Lounge

A quick walk from Union Park (the annual site of Pitchfork Music Festival), this modern biker bar is the best spot for underground and touring punk and metal acts. In the coming months, Cobra has tipped off it will develop a restaurant and brewery in an adjacent space for preshow or postshow fare; fittingly, its inaugural Greyskull Wonder Beer was a big hit at Riot Fest in fall.

235 N. Ashland Ave.; cobralounge.com

Open till 2 a.m. Mon.-Fri.; 3 a.m. Sat.

Check out: Psych metal rockers Windhand, March 7

Empty Bottle

Empty is quite the misnomer for this spot with its devoted crowd and some of the best booking in town. Recognized by Rolling Stone as one of the best clubs in America in 2013, the Bottle offers indie rock, experimental, metal and electro acts several nights a week including a free Monday night series. The beer menu is not expansive but cheap; attached bring-your-own-bottle restaurant Bite also has late-night eats.

1035 N. Western Ave.; emptybottle.com

Open till 2 a.m. daily; 3 a.m. Sat.

Check out: Buzz act Mac DeMarco, April 2

Green Mill

Imagine the hazy, improvisational jazz club in New York City’s Harlem in the late 1930s, and you get an idea of the bebop and swing emporium in the Uptown community. Cover charges are from another era, with door fees as low as $4. Grab a date, booth and cocktail menu, and wait for the show to begin.

4802 N. Broadway; greenmilljazz.com

Open till 4 a.m. daily; 5 a.m. Sat.

Check out: Alan Gresik Swing Shift Orchestra, every Thursday

Kingston Mines

There’s a reason tourists and celebrities flock to this bustling listening room when in town. It has a long history of providing some of the best Chicago-style blues musicians served with a side of traditional Chicago barbecue seven nights a week. Be prepared for a long night, though. Headliners go as late as 2:30 a.m.

2548 N. Halsted St.; kingstonmines.com

Open till 4 a.m. daily; 5 a.m. Saturdays

Check out: Delta queen Nellie “Tiger” Travis, February 14 & 15

Red Line Tap

The rowdy staple in the Rogers Park community, next to Heartland Cafe, touts “punk to funk and everything in between” and means it. House band the Mudflapps and a weekly open mike round out an eclectic calendar nearly seven nights a week. In addition to its taps, the bar has a solid selection of American and imported whiskeys and craft cocktails like the Redneck Julip.

7006 N. Glenwood Ave.; redlinetap.com

Open till 2 a.m. daily; 3 a.m. Sat.

Check out: Layzie Bone, of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Feb. 27

Rosa’s Lounge

Chicago is known for its blues clubs, but few are as inviting as Rosa’s, which dubs itself the “friendliest blues lounge” in the city. In 2014, the no-frills spot in the Logan Square community celebrates 30 years of bringing together traditional and off-the-cuff acts and hosting a moonlit Blues Cruise from Navy Pier.

3420 W. Armitage Ave.; rosaslounge.com

Open till 1 a.m. Wed; 2 a.m. Tues., Thurs., Fri.; 3 a.m. Sat.; closed Sun.-Mon.

Check out: Billy Branch & the Sons of Blues/30th Anniversary Party, Feb. 15

The Whistler

You know a venue is good when it has its own record label. This quaint spot in the Logan Square community offers nightly entertainment from jazz, experimental and indie bands as well as in-house disc jockeys; a back patio extends the options in warmer months. Go for the music, but stay for the drinks like the Delhi Cooler, which has GQ calling the Whistler one of the best 25 cocktail bars in America.

2421 N. Milwaukee Ave.; whistlerchicago.com

Open till 2 a.m. daily; 3 a.m. Sat.

Check out: Local pop chanteuse KSRA, March 6



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