No matter what city I'm in I always seek out the same kind of place. A dark, run down room with live music. In New York I love to sit in Arthur's Tavern and listen to my friend Stew Cutler play. In Charlotte, you can bet I'll be at the Double Door Inn on a Monday night. Here in Chicago I've found a place that is equally as special - The Green Mill.
The space dates back to 1907. It's known as a spot that Al Capone used to hide out in during the prohibition era. When the police would roll up, he would use the trapdoor behind the bar leading to a network of tunnels to escape. Capone's booth is still there and so is the trapdoor. I imagine The Mill looks pretty close to how it looked back in the day. There are no TVs in the place and the bar is cash only.
What I love most about The Mill is the music. It's a short train ride from my apartment and I can catch great music any night of the week. Some nights there is a full swing band playing Glenn Miller tunes. On Sunday nights Joel Paterson and his organ trio take to the smaller stage and play until the early morning hours.
When there is a jazz show patrons are expected to be quiet and the management will tell you to shut up or get out if you're loud. It's nice to be in a place where the focus is the music. When the music isn't playing though, it's a great opportunity to get to know strangers. I've met music lovers from all over the world at the Green Mill. When my friends visit me here in Chicago it's always on the list of places to go.
So, next time you find yourself in Chicago let's go hear some jazz. It's an experience that I'm sure you won't forget. Check out the short video below: