Green Mill Cocktail Lounge (Bar, Uptown)

Location: 4802 N. Broadway
Phone: (773) 878-5552
Music: Jazz, Performance Art, Poetry

I wish that I had more money or less expensive taste. Not that the Green Mill is outrageously priced, but it’s the kind of place where you have such a good time that you lose track of what round you’re on.

The Green Mill, opened in 1907, is the country’s oldest jazz club, and certainly Chicago’s finest. Patterned after Clark Monroe’s Uptown House in Harlem, the interior offers a glimpse of an older Chicago, one made up of dangerous men, mysterious women, brilliant jazz and excellent cocktails. From the glowing green bulbs on the outside to the classic sign above the stage, everything oozes class and cool. Beware though, you’ll feel like a schmuck if you walk in wearing jeans and a t-shirt, especially on Thursday when they clear the dance floor for swing jazz night.

The stage sees its share of local regulars, as well as some of the finest touring acts in the jazz world. The cover usually ranges between $14-18, and drinks are moderately priced. The beer and wine selection is decent, but the savvy drinker will take advantage of the skill of the Green Mill’s bartenders and reacquaint themselves with old favorites like a Manhattan or Vodka Stinger, both of which know no equal in the city.

Along with great jazz, the Green Mill is also the hold of the longest running slam series in the world, the Uptown Poetry Slam, hosted every Sunday by Chicago poet Marc Smith. The series features an open mic segment and guest performers, as well as a competitive slam. Unlike the usually low-key atmosphere the Mill offers, the slam can get rowdy and loud, and most definitely fun.


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Gene Wagendorf III

About Gene Wagendorf III

Gene is a writer who has spent his entire quarter century of life as a resident of Chicago. When not exploring the city he can be found wandering flea markets and garage sales or having a cigarette between classes at Northeastern Illinois University, where he hopes to acquire a degree in the next quarter century. His favorite smells are old books and bowling alleys. His poetry (how embarrassing!) can be found in issues of Kill Poet, Ditch, Word Riot, O Sweet Flowery Roses and Vowel Movements.

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