Buddy Guy's Legends

Buddy Guy's Legends 700 South Wabash Avenue Chicago

Beyond the Blues/Buddy Guy's Legends
Paul Natkin
Written By Paul Natkin

Photojournalist Paul Natkin captures his love for music through the lens of his camera; no wonder he has worked with the biggest names in music during his 40-year career.

If you're looking to hear the blues in Chicago, head to Buddy Guy's Legends. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, multiple Grammy Award winner and Kennedy Center honoree Buddy Guy owns this fabulous place. If he is not on the road, he can usually be seen sitting at the bar, greeting customers and engaging them in some great conversation.

The music starts about 5PM daily with a free acoustic set, followed by at least two great bands each night. Monday night is jam night, where amateur and professional musicians can show up with their instruments to be matched up with total strangers, and then sent to the next room to plan out a few songs to play in front of an audience (some for the first time).

 The music is wonderful and the food is authentic New Orleans style (recipes courtesy of Mr. Guy). You have to be 21 for the evening shows (no exceptions), but if you're not, there are free acoustic sets for all ages to go with lunch and dinner (Wednesdays through Sundays beginning at noon; daily beginning between 5 and 6 pm).

The walls of the club are decorated with original artwork and all kinds of blues memorabilia, including Buddy's numerous Blues Music Awards. Check out the collection of guitars hanging behind the bar, gifts to Buddy from B. B. King, Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana and Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Pro Tip: Legends doesn't take reservations. Admission is first come, first served and doesn't guarantee table seating. The best bet is to come early if you want a seat at a table. Tables usually fill up between 7:30 to 8pm on weeknights and between 6 to 7pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

Buddy Guy's gigs take him around the world, but each January you can find him here at Legends for 16 performances dubbed The Buddy Shows by fans. This year he'll also be at Legends for a very special show, his 80th Birthday Bash, on August 1, 2016.

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Beyond the Blues

Buddy Guy's Legends

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