"Prohibition Has Made Nothing But Trouble"-Al Capone

#chicago #alcapone #thegreenmill


There is a current hipster renaissance afoot featuring, not only hefty beards and tattoos but Prohibition cocktails. What better place to experience a Side Car or a Sazerac or even the ironically named South Side (not originated in the South Side) than The Green Mill Cocktail Lounge in Uptown, Chicago.

The Green Mill has hosted live jazz every single evening since 1942 and hosts the internationally recognised Uptown Poetry Slam every Sunday, but it is most famous for being the favourite hang out of the notorious American gangster, Al Capone.

Emily, my eldest, took me to the Green Mill for a birthday surprise when she was living in Chicago. I felt like I was stepping through time when I entered the bar.

Inside the Green Mill, there is the original statue of Ceres, Goddess of the Harvest, which was saved from storage and now intermingles with newfangled lighting cables. Walls are decorated with Prohibition photographs in solid oak scrolled frames and Al Capone’s infamous booth; it’s location perfect for keeping a lookout for enemy gunmen on both doors of the speakeasy, but crap for viewing the band.

Behind the bar is a trap door with a lift for bringing in the illegal hootch, and also for escaping from the booze police. There is also a wood carving that features a poem about Capone’s favourite Jazz singer Joe E. Lewis. Joe E., after asking for a raise, not receiving it and then leaving the Green Mill for another establishment, was attacked by Capone's men and left for dead. His tongue and mouth mutilated so that he could never sing at that new establishment. The poem serves as a warning against anyone who might consider displeasing The Big Guy.

Get there before 7pm for Al’s booth or a table close to the stage, and stay all night for the music. The entry is cheap, cash only, and dress is anything you want it to be.


4802 N. Broadway

Chicago, IL 60640 : 773-878-5552

Find The Green Mill in Ocean’s 12 and High Fidelity, and many more.

The Green Mill’s location is still a bit rough, but there are plenty of cabs and an L station close by.

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Fearing the empty nest? Don't! Since my children have flown the coup, I have had time to refocus on my passions of travel, art, and writing.  This little blog is a handy tool that helps me share what I have learned with others.


I grew up in the States, but have lived a large chunk of my adult life in the UK. I now split my time between London and South Africa as well as chasing the sun around the world. 


 When my nest emptied, I began to plan my trips according to my own schedule, indulging in going solo. Once one gets used to traveling solo, it can be a very freeing experience. I seek out interesting, informative and unique experiences, and proffer advice with my network of readers.  I also have a lot of fun!


 Spa retreats and personal growth travel are core to what I do.  If there was a master's degree in the art of booking massages, I would be a scholarship student! I also plan to conquer Europe one city break at a time and with all that effort, I need as many beach holidays as possible. 


So please enjoy reading my tales of travel. I hope you are encouraged to get on that plane and perhaps have a few giggles along the way.


When my large family was quite young, we lived in several international postings. In an age before Google Translate,  I negotiated the grocery stores of foreign countries in search of tasty ingredients. I soon became an expert at discerning information from food labels and also learned to cook healthy, quick meals from local sources. 


From this experience, I became quite the foodie, even before 'foodie' was a word. And now as an empty-nester and devotee of food travel networks, I  interpret those old recipes into smaller, even tastier versions. 


Being an editor and food/wine travel columnist,  I travel the world sampling indigenous recipes which I share on Old Bag on a Plane. I also love wine!


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