Chicago's entertainment varies from loud and loose to sophisticated and sedate. You'll find classic Chicago corner bars in most neighborhoods, along with trendier alternatives like wine bars and lounges. The strains of blues and jazz provide much of the backbeat to the city's groove, and an alternative country scene is flourishing. As far as dancing is concerned, take your pick from cavernous clubs to smaller spots with DJs spinning dance tunes; there's everything from hip-hop to swing. Wicker Park/Bucktown and River North have the hottest nightlife, but prime spots are spread throughout the city.

Shows usually begin at 9 pm; cover charges generally range from $3 to $20, depending on the day of the week (Friday and Saturday nights are the most expensive). The list of blues and jazz clubs includes several South Side locations: be cautious about transportation here late at night, because some of these neighborhoods can be unsafe. Drive your own car or ask the bartender to call you a cab.

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  • 1. Coq d'Or

    Near North | Piano Bars/Lounges

    A dark, wood-paneled room in the Drake Hotel, Coq d'Or has red-leather booths where Chicago legend Buddy Charles held court before retiring...Read More

  • 2. Davenport's Piano Bar & Cabaret

    Wicker Park | Piano Bars/Lounges

    Davenport's, a sophisticated cabaret booking both local and touring acts, brings a grown-up presence to the Wicker Park club scene. The piano...Read More

  • 3. Howl at the Moon

    Near North | Piano Bars/Lounges

    The dueling pianists at Howl at the Moon attract a rowdy crowd that delights in belting out popular tunes. Reservations aren't accepted, but...Read More

  • 4. Pump Room

    Old Town | Piano Bars/Lounges

    Ian Schrager revamped the historic Ambassador East Hotel as the affordably chic Public Chicago. In keeping with the democratic pricing, he left...Read More

  • 5. Red Kiva

    West Loop | Piano Bars/Lounges

    Red Kiva serves up cocktails, martinis, and draft beers—along with house-made flat-bread pizzas—in a cozy, candlelit lounge centered on a sunken...Read More

  • 6. Zebra Lounge

    Near North | Piano Bars/Lounges

    Small and funky with zebra-stripe lamps and other kitschy accoutrements, this lounge attracts an interesting crowd of dressed-up and dressed...Read More

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