Green Mill Cocktail Lounge

4802 N Broadway St Chicago

City of Writers/Green Mill Cocktail Lounge
American Writers Museum
Written By American Writers Museum

The American Writers Museum celebrates American writers through innovative, state-of-the-art exhibitions and compelling programming.

Since 1986, this historic jazz club has hosted the Uptown Poetry Slam, the brainchild of Marc Kelly Smith. In this much-imitated format, "slammers" compete for audience approval, evaluated both for performance style and the content of their poetry. 

During the Prohibition Era, from 1920 to 1933, Jack McGurn, who was a member of Al Capone’s Chicago Mafia (otherwise known as the Chicago Outfit), became a part-owner of the establishment, providing a platform for a lot of gang activity, as the network of underground tunnels was built for exactly that purpose. Al Capone was a frequent guest, and his favorite booth is still there today, located west of the short end of the bar since it had a clear view of both the front and back entrances of the venue. There is supposedly still access to the tunnels behind the bar, which go underneath the street leading to the next building over, allowing for stealthy illegal exchanges. 

Once the Prohibition Era ceased, the Green Mill lost its notoriety and began attracting popular jazz acts and eventually became the house of the Uptown Poetry Slam, the brainchild of Marc Kelly Smith, in 1986. In this much-imitated format, "slammers" compete for audience approval, evaluated both for performance style and the content of their poetry. Today, The Green Mill Cocktail Lounge stands as a cultural landmark that stills hosts many guests daily.

City of Writers

Green Mill Cocktail Lounge

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