Underground Wonder Bar

Bar / Live Music Venue
Underground Wonder Bar Underground Wonder Bar in Chicago’s River North is a great jazz & blues bar. Catch reggae, rock, & more, too! Head to Party Earth Chicago to find out more! Chicago United States 41.8952004 -87.6313886
4.16 5
Underground Wonder Bar - Bar | Live Music Venue in Chicago.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review Founded in 1989 by multi-talented Chicago native Lonie Walker – who still helms the house Bad Ass Company Band – Underground Wonder Bar touts a packed calendar of nightly performances geared to soothe the soul, feed the... ... read full review

  • Train:

    Brown, Purple Express, Red Lines: Chicago

  • Phone:

    312-266-7761

  • Links:

  • Hours:

    M–F, Su 5pm–4am, Sa 5pm–5am

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth Underground Wonder Bar Review

The Scene

Underground Wonder Bar in Chicago’s River North is a great jazz & blues bar. Catch reggae, rock, & more, too! Head to Party Earth Chicago to find out more!

Founded in 1989 by multi-talented Chicago native Lonie Walker – who still helms the house Bad Ass Company Band – Underground Wonder Bar touts a packed calendar of nightly performances geared to soothe the soul, feed the funk, and make a whole lotta toes tap.

A small sidewalk patio provides guests with some fresh air before a show, though most of the music-loving regulars head straight past the brightly patterned façade to grab a favored spot inside.

A cool mix of deep-burgundy wood, shadowy corners, and paintings of hard-strumming guitarists and piano-plunking troubadours give the place a funky vibe, while the neon-lit bar serves basic booze with the customary buck or two tacked on like at most music venues.

Candlelit tables provide a cup of crayons so guests can doodle on the tablecloths while they wait for the show, but once the music starts, all eyes are on the raised stage – backdropped with Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” – where an eclectic mix of open mic, comedy, and reggae fill the void between the regular jazz and blues.

The unifying powers of music are evident in the always-packed crowds, which include everyone from wealthy River North yuppies to grungy starving art students, all clapping their hands, stomping their feet, and ensuring the Underground Wonder Bar’s “Live 365” motto remains true every night and for decades to come.

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Tip from Jonah:

Even if you aren’t digging the band on the main stage, the party doesn’t stop at UWB. Head downstairs to the more intimate UnderWonder lounge, which has its own bar and a small stage that hosts guest DJs or a second band that keeps the music going till the wee hours.

  • Crowd

    Mélange of yuppies, artsy college kids, aging hippies, feminist poets, dreadlocked reggae fans, nerdy jazz cats, couples, soul sisters, and a good dose of tourists, early 20s to late 60s+.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Packed roster of nightly acts including jazz, folk, rock, soul, funk, blues, and reggae, as well as other events like storytelling, comedy, and theatrical works. Open mic on Mondays. Bad Ass Company Band performs Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10:30pm.

    DJs and smaller bands usually play in the UnderWonder lounge located below the bar, which also hosts its own varied special events, all in conjunction with the bigger performances on the main stage. Frequent movie showings, art shows, and other special events.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    N/A.

  • Prices

    Cover charge $5–$15/usually after 9pm. Beer $3–$7, cocktails and rails $5–$12, wine and champagne $9+/glass or $40–$200/bottle.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Casual to slightly upscale: t-shirts, hoodies, vests, button-downs, vintage suits, sleek skirts, flowy blouses.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Any night an act of interest is on the stage.

  • Close By

    Fedora Lounge (712 North Clark Street) features TVs tuned to classic films, a kitchen that stays open late, food that complements the craft beer list, burlesque and open mic nights, and a cool subterranean lounge serving specialty cocktails on the weekends.

Underground Wonder Bar User Reviews

Average rating:
Great Atmosphere & Jazz Artists
Mike O. May 28, 2013
This is one of the best jazz bars in the city. There's live music every night with two to three different performers each night, and it's open every night of the year. There is cover, but most of it goes to the performers. Drinks are on the pricey side, but it should be expected in the Near North side of the city. Sitting closer to the stage gives you a concert feel while sitting towards the back gives you a much more intimate feeling. But no matter where you sit, it sounds great. Anyone who likes jazz or live music needs to walk into this bar.
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