Although the Windy City is synonymous with blues music, it still has a thriving country western bar scene offering everything from vintage hits to today’s music. While some bars are dedicated to country-western music, others take a more casual approach and offer country music on select nights. Whether you’re a transplant from the South in need of some down-home tunes or just want to try a different type of bar, the following Chicago country western bars will have you ready to don a 10-gallon hat and step into cowboy boots. Round up your friends and head out for a night of fun as you discover how to two-step with the best of them.
Saddle Up Saloon & Dancehall
4440 W. Ogden Ave.
Aurora, IL 60504
Ready for a bit of a road trip? While Saddle Up Saloon is about an hour west of downtown Chicago, it offers quite a few amenities to make the trek worthwhile. The Saddle Up has a dance floor large enough for you to dance the night away. If you don’t know how to two-step, don’t worry. Saddle Up offers line dance lessons from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday for beginners and intermediates. It’s not all country at the bar, either. Saddle Up plays country music for the first few hours every night, then switches to a mix of Top 40 and country until close. If you’re feeling hungry, mosey on over to see what the bar has to offer. Its $3 menu features grilled cheese sandwiches, wings, fried pickles and tacos. Saddle Up offers reservations, ideal for a fun night out for a bachelor or bachelorette party.
6615 Roosevelt Road
Berwyn, IL 60402
Want to hear some live music? Then put FitzGerald’s on your list. The nightclub offers live music from many genres, including country. Previous country acts performing at the nightclub have included Clark Paterson and The Black Lillies. Make sure to keep FitzGerald’s in mind over the summer, when it hosts its annual American Music Festival around the Fourth of July. Located in Berwyn, the nightclub is just a few blocks from the Forest Park Blue Line stop. Film buffs will especially like this location; scenes for both “The Color of Money” and “A League of Their Own” were filmed at FitzGerald’s.
1175 W. Lake St.
Bartlett, IL 60103
From bull rides to line dancing, the Cadillac Ranch has country western entertainment lined up that is sure to please both longtime country fans and those just looking for a fun night out. On Friday nights, Cadillac Ranch offers live music acts. Bands that have appeared previously at the bar include Kampfire Kowboys and Scarletta. Ever wanted to recreate the bull riding scene from “Urban Cowboy?” Let Cadillac Ranch help, as it has what it calls “sexy bull riding” on Saturday nights. The kitchen’s menu comprises pretzel sticks, wings, shrimp and french fries for those who have worked up an appetite on the dance floor. The bar is the perfect place to end a night out on the town, as it closes at 4 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
940 W. Weed St.
Chicago, IL 60622
Who has appeared at Joe’s Bar? The better question might be who hasn’t. Previous performers at Joe’s have included Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert, Rascal Flatts and Jana Kramer. The bar isn’t a one-trick pony, though; you can also catch a number of college and pro sports games. Breakfast, snacks, sandwiches and pizza are all on the bar’s menu. With five party rooms, Joe’s is also great for planning your next private party with a country twist. The bar is also recognized beyond Chicago’s city limits and is the two-time winner of the Academy of Country Music award for nightclub of the year.
The California Clipper
1002 N. California Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
For those looking for live music with some country-inspired cocktails, head to The California Clipper. Located in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, the Clipper’s cocktail menu features drinks like the rusty nail and Rob Roy. Other cocktails include mai tais and martinis, which are sure to please an eclectic crowd. The bar features a changing lineup of live music on Friday and Saturday nights at 10 p.m., with musical acts like Cropduster, Black Willoughbys and Sarah and the Tall Boys having appeared in the past. Bill Harnden, aka Rockin’ Billy, appears on Sunday nights at 10 p.m., featuring acoustic rockabilly.
Megan Horst-Hatch is a mother, runner, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She loves nothing more than a great cupcake, and writes at I’m a Trader Joe’s Fan. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.