Joined: 15 Jun 2006
Location: Portland, OR
Going to the Green Mill - Info & Insider Tips
Sun Sep 20, 2015 10:28 pm
Note: These tips for going to hear Kurt Elling at the Green Mill are a work-in-progress. If you have suggestions, additions, or corrections, please post them in a reply so they can be incorporated later. Many thanks! [current as of 09/20/15]
The Green Mill is on the NW corner of N Broadway St and W Lawrence Ave in Uptown.
EL: Take the Red Line to the Lawrence stop. The Green Mill is located one block to the west.
Cab: It's about a 15 minute ride up N Lake Shore Drive from downtown Chicago.
Free Parking: A free parking lot is reserved for Green Mill customers from 6:00 pm-6:00 am. It's one block west of the Green Mill at Lawrence & Magnolia. Your vehicle will be towed outside of those hours.
Hours: M-F noon-4:00 am; Sat noon-5:00 am; Sun 11:00 am-4:00 am
Shows start on time.
On those rare occasions when Kurt Elling is performing at the Green Mill - see the KE Touring page for specific dates:
On a Friday night: 5:00 pm-8:00 pm: The "Flipside Show with Chris Forman on the Hammond B-3 (no cover) 9:00 pm-1:00 am: The Kurt Elling Quintet (three sets - $20 cover) 1:00 am-4:00 am: After Hours Green Mill Quartet Jam Session
On a Saturday night: 3:00 pm-5:00 pm: The Paper Machete (comedy - no cover) 8:00 pm-midnight: The Kurt Elling Quintet (three sets - $20 cover) Midnight-5:00 am: After Hours Jazz Party with Sabertooth Organ Quartet
Cover charge: For Kurt Elling's shows, the cover is $20, paid at the door. You don't need exact change. They don't turn over the house, so once you've paid you're in for as long as you want to stay. There is no cover charge during the day when no band is performing.
Get there early:
The Green Mill doesn't take reservations and there are no advance ticket sales. It's first-come, first-served.
Get there as early as you can. To get a good seat, you probably need to arrive as much as four hours ahead of time. You can send a scout early, but that person can hold seats for only two hours before the show. The room starts filling up at least 60-90 minutes before the show, which means a line forms outside.
If you're there early, you can hang and take in the early show (The Flipside Show with Chris Forman on the Hammond B3 from 5:00-8:00 on Friday, or The Paper Machete comedy show from 3:00-5:00 on Saturday).
On Saturday afternoon, the room can fill up during the Paper Machete show (3:00-5:00 pm). You can move to the front and stand there for a while until that comedy show is over. Quite a few front seats free up at 5:00 pm.
When the place is completely full, people do wait in line outside during the sets, and the doorman admits them as others leave.
Where to sit:
No matter where you are, the sound is excellent. Once you get inside, sit anywhere you can, and do whatever the Green Mill staff tells you to do.
Everyone has their preferences for the best seats. Some like the booths on the side, some the tables in the middle, some the round booths, some by the side door, and some like sitting at the bar. During the busy nights, there are people standing in front about 3 deep which makes sight lines a bit difficult.
Food and drink:
There is no drink minimum. You can bring in food to eat while you're waiting, but do not eat during the performance.
The Green Mill doesn't serve food, but there are many good restaurants within walking distance, including Mexican, Ethiopian, Chinese, and American. Here are a few nearby:
The Green Mill takes cash and American Express cards only. There is an ATM on site, a Bank of America across the street, and a Chase Bank a block east on Lawrence.
Do's and don'ts:
* DO NOT TALK during the performance! It's a listening room and you will be hushed or escorted out if you are not honoring and respecting the music, the musicians, and those around you.
* Do NOT re-arrange chairs without asking the staff.
* Do NOT bring in food to eat during the performance. If you have food with you, eat it before the show starts.
* DO tip the wait staff.
* DO drink up - because the more you drink the better they sound.
* DO stay for the Sabertooth jam Saturday night after the show. Music until 5:00 am.
* DO have a fabulous time!
And do check out this fascinating history of the place: