The nightlife

Where to find live entertainment in the capital city

click to enlarge The nightlife
Photo Trevor Miller
The Curve Inn has a great beer garden, consistent live music and terrific food

The nightlife of Springfield and surrounding communities is diverse and robust. Blues, folk, jazz, rock, country, hip-hop, dance music, open mic events and karaoke nights are well represented on any given night in central Illinois and the capital city. Solid local acts playing original and cover material mix with national touring bands on the road from St. Louis to Chicago or between Indianapolis and Kansas City to create a fertile atmosphere for vibrant entertainment.

Local, regional and national touring acts of various genres take the stage weekly at several clubs around the city. Boondocks (2909 N. Dirksen) presents contemporary country bands often still on the music charts, while Danenberger Family Vineyard's Wine Rocks (12341 Irish Road, New Berlin) hosts a variety of acts that run the gamut from singer-songwriter types to Americana groups and local cover bands. The Curve Inn (3219 S. Sixth St.) books live, local music in a heated outdoor venue every weekend from 6 to 10 p.m., then continues the entertainment inside until 3 a.m. with a DJ.

There are too many venues to mention, ranging from coffee shops to bars and wineries, with local bands and musicians of all flavors, including rock, bluegrass, blues, country and pop music. For a complete listing of what's going on in and around the capital city on any given week, check the arts and entertainment listings in Illinois Times, the city's free weekly newspaper, which also publishes Capital City Visitor. Look for the numerous IT newsstands throughout downtown, as well as at area hotels, restaurants and stores or check the online calendar at

click to enlarge The nightlife
Photo Nicole Tolbert
Stand-up comedian Jeff Tolbertperforming at Mason City Limits.


Every Monday night starting around 8 p.m., the Illinois Central Blues Club (ICBC) sponsors a different band at the Alamo (115 N. Fifth St.). Local, regional and national acts have enlivened this wonderful music experience during the 30-plus years of Blue Mondays. Watch for special blues events regularly sponsored by the active ICBC at different venues in town. Third Base Sports Bar (410 Maple Ave.) also regularly supports touring blues acts on the weekends along with an assortment of local bands of all genres.


Jazz in all its varied forms is represented at certain nightclubs and restaurants. Robbie's (4 S. Old State Capitol Plaza) presents jazz and blues-influenced combos each Friday, 5:30-7:30 p.m. On the near west side of town, the Lime Street Cafe (951 S. Durkin Dr.) serves up jazz-style musicians with an occasional foray into classic rock 'n' roll.


If laughter is what you're after, look no further than Donnie B's Comedy Club (3455 Freedom Dr.) or head north of town to the Mason City Limits Comedy Club (114 E. Chestnut, Mason City). Both clubs feature nationally known touring comedians every Friday and Saturday night, with occasional open mics for the aspiring comic.


Fortunately, should you develop the urge to sing your heart out in front of a crowd, karaoke machines and competent hosts await your command at Blue Grouch Pub (510 W. Maple), Burger Bar (2765 S. Sixth), Main Gate Bar & Grill (2143 N. 11th St.) and several other bars.

Open mics

If you prefer your public performances with an instrument in hand, check out regular open mics at Craft Beer Bar (430 Monroe St.), Trail's End Saloon (Rt. 54, Curran), Crows Mill Pub (1220 Toronto Rd.), George Rank's (1800 S. Sixth St.), Weebles (4136 Peoria Road) and Coni's Pub (1008 E. Ash St.).


Singer-songwriters and acoustic music performers are in abundance around town and in the area. Venues with regular shows include Pease's at Bunn Gourmet (2941 Plaza Dr.), Always After Five (2741 S. Sixth St.), Hand of Fate Brewing Company (107 E. Douglas St., Petersburg) and 3Sixteen Wine Bar (316 N. Main St., Chatham).

Illinois Times has provided readers with independent journalism for more than 40 years, from news and politics to arts and culture.

Now more than ever, we’re asking for your support to continue providing our community with real news that everyone can access, free of charge.

We’re also offering a home delivery option as an added convenience for friends of the paper.

Click here to subscribe, or simply show your support for Illinois Times.

Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment