Kingston Mines

Blues Club / Historic Bar / Jazz Club / Restaurant
Kingston Mines Founded in 1968 as one of Chicago's first blues clubs, Kingston Mines has stood witness to more than a few big players in the industry wailing about how their woman left them. Chicago United States 41.928787 -87.649004
4.44 9
Kingston Mines - Blues Club | Historic Bar | Jazz Club | Restaurant in Chicago.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review Founded in 1968 as one of Chicago’s first blues clubs, Kingston Mines has stood witness to more than a few big players in the industry wailing about how their woman left them. Playbills from past performances, old photos... ... read full review

  • Train:

    Red, Purple Express, Brown Lines: Fullerton

  • Phone:

    773-477-4646

  • Links:

  • Hours:

    M–Th, Su 8pm–4am, F 7:30pm–4am, Sa 7:30pm–5am

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth Kingston Mines Review

The Scene

Founded in 1968 as one of Chicago's first blues clubs, Kingston Mines has stood witness to more than a few big players in the industry wailing about how their woman left them.

Founded in 1968 as one of Chicago’s first blues clubs, Kingston Mines has stood witness to more than a few big players in the industry wailing about how their woman left them.

Playbills from past performances, old photos of legendary singers, and vintage murals of African American history dot the room, while mismatched ceiling tiles and peeling linoleum floors add a down-and-dirty touch for the young hipster music lovers and older fans who groove to the twang that kicks off at 9:30 each night.

The space consists of two nearly identical rooms, each with a dance floor, a few scattered wooden tables, a basic bar, and a simple stage built to resemble a southern porch, complete with shutters and plants painted on the front and a large “Dancing Aloud” sign to one side.

Narrow tables and a salvaged church pew in front of the stage fill up quickly with blues aficionados, while the more outgoing show off their dance moves, pausing just long enough to scarf down a few southern dishes like fried okra and catfish.

Mounted TVs in the back of both rooms, which take turns hosting performances, project a live video of whoever is onstage – often the only glimpse much of the audience will get on crowded weekend nights.

Dim and loud, lively and long-running, Kingston Mines is conducive to tappin’, clappin’, and full on booty poppin’ alike…so long as somebody’s heart is broken or their dog has run away.

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Tip from Jonah:

Cover is waived Sunday through Thursday if you bring your student ID.

  • Crowd

    Young professionals, jazz and blues lovers, hipsters, and older business people, 20s to 40+.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Live blues and jazz daily 9:30pm–close.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Southern bar food, including fried okra and chicken wings.

  • Prices

    Cover charge $15. Bar snacks $2.50–$5.50, entrées $6–$15. Beer $3.75–$7.35, wine $6.25, cocktails $3.50–$10.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Anything goes: stilettos and miniskirts, jeans and t-shirts, leggings and chucks, Member’s Only jackets and fanny packs.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights for a wall-to-wall crowd.

  • Close By

    Popular neighborhood bar The Burwood Tap (724 West Wrightwood Avenue) provides a quiet break from the music, and opens a few hours before Kingston Mines.

Kingston Mines User Reviews

Average rating:
I've never had a bad time at Kingston Mines
Christopher A. Apr 22, 2013
If you want true blues and a good time this is the place to go. The two stages provide non-stop entertainment so there's never a dull moment. Unlike some clique-oriented music bars, Kingston Mines is friendly to everyone whether you are a frequent blues-goer or you want to try something new. Once you step into this place, you feel as if you've left the world for an alternative universe in which everyone can't help but have a great time. The music, the drinks, the food, and the classic atmosphere is both stimulating and comforting. Surrender to the music and dance. Even if you are the most stubborn of non-dancers this place will test your nerve. Bring your student ID, if you have one, and you can dodge the cover charge (except Friday/Saturday). When bar hopping in Lincoln Park, Kingston Mines is where I always want to end up. I've gone on Friday nights and it is still worth the cover. This jolly slice of blues heaven will have you coming back. You'll also want to bring a group of friends because at this place more is really merrier. Wear anything, go any night, and be ready to enjoy one of the most authentic and fun places in Chicago. Seriously, check this place out.
You want blues? Look no further.
Emily L. Apr 11, 2013
Kingston Mines is THE place to go for Blues in Chicago. An old professor of mine who studied Blues Music told me I had to head that way, and man, was she right! The clientele is diverse and energetic - everybody is having such a good time! Every night of the week, it's hopping. Definitely a must-see whenever friends come to visit.
Become a Regular
Chris F. Mar 7, 2013
Any night of the week Kingston Mines is rocking. Bring a crowd, your student ID and your dancing shoes to this Lincoln Park cornerstone for a night of fun and drinks. Every hour the show moves between two stages, featuring some of Chicago's most respected working blues musicians who never fail to impress. You'll hear classic grooves and modern covers in the lineup as these guys wail through the night. The bars aren't anything too impressive, but a bucket of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale will only run you $16 (or you could get Budweiser for the same price...). The aging decor and dim lighting emit a warm energy you won't feel shy bopping your head or grabbing a dance partner to cut a rug with. On the right night, people of all ages are up and swinging in front of the stages, making it an excellent place for singles. The restaurant in the rear offers southern-style food for any diet. Dress code is casual, wear whatever you're comfortable in. The crowd is endearing and friendly. You won't see any zoot suits, but from the lingering musicians to the 20-40-somethings, everyone is having a good time at Kingston Mines. Every trip is a blast and never a dissapointment.
A Must See for Locals and Visitors Alike
Billy K. Dec 20, 2012
Kingston Mines is the quintessential Chicago blues bar. The second you take a seat, grab a drink, and let your ears grab the blues melody being played by whoever is performing, you might start to wonder if you took a time machine back to the 50s or 60s. I have gone there both as a student and now a graduate/real person/adult and my adoration for Kingston hasn't changed. The cover charge might be hard to get over, but it's worth it. The little amount of money you spend on food and booze for such great musical performances makes it all worth it. I have gone their in a suit, a t-shirt, and shorts on separate occasions and have fit in each and every time. The crowd is a microcosm of Chicago's population. You have people from different walks of life, in different occupations, etc., because everyone can relate to and has at one point had the blues. The performers do their best to get the crowd involved and I can guarantee by the time you leave your blues will feel a little lighter. If you want a crowded night, go on the weekend. If you just want to chill and relax, go on a regular weeknight. Either way, it's a good time!
Great Any Night!
Chris M. Aug 27, 2012
I know nothing about Blues but always have a great time at Kingston Mines, no matter the night. There is almost always a performance on both stages and it doesn't matter who it is they will be pouring themselves into the performance. Some of the regular performers are just as good as the big names and you will see some killer guitar playing. On weeknights you can get in free with a student ID, so don't get rid of it when you move to Chicago after college, but even the cover charge is very reasonable for the entertainment. It can be a little intimidating your first time at Kingston Mines, there seem to be some unspoken rules, but after a few beers everyone is having a good time. The crowd is as diverse as you will find on the north side by age, race, and anything else. People love the music and that's all that matters. The food is very southern and very good and folks will set up for the night at a table and just keep the food and beers coming. Don't expect a table to vacate at any point. There are some great places for blues in Chicago, of course, but Kingston Mines should be on your list.
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