Clubs and music venues the Dooleys played at through the years
Here are clubs and music venues The Dooleys have played at from 1967 through the present day. Locations are in Chicago unless otherwise indicated.
The Abbey – This multi-roomed establishment on Grace Street just off Elston Avenue owned and operated by the Looney Family. The main room had a nice sized recessed stage elevated about four feet off the main floor. We played numerous shows here in the 80s and 90s.
Amazing Grace (Evanston) – Performed here in the 70s. Music room was like being in a comfortable thick-carpeted living room and many of the folks in the audience simply sat right on the floor.
Andy’s – Near north side long-running jazz club. We played here a few times in the 80s.
Arthur Cutten’s – On Van Buren and LaSalle, watering hole for floor traders and brokers and workers from the Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Board Options Exchange across the street.
The Backroom – Rush Street club where Joe, Bill and Jim performed in the late 1960s.
The Barbarossa – Located at 1117 N. Dearborn Street on the ground floor of a hotel. This cozy and friendly folk music nightclub had good sightlines and a great vibe to it. As you walked in, on your right you would pass the narrow bar that had six or seven barstools. In the main area the audience was seated at compact cocktail tables clustered directly in front of and off to the side of the raised stage. Above the bar was a small balcony that would hold a dozen or so people.
Our trio just barely squeezed onto the tiny stage, which was wedged into a corner of the room and was elevated five feet off the floor. The stage floor consisted of a thick sheet of multicolored plexiglass that was lit up from underneath.
The Barbarossa was an intimate five-night-a-week folk music venue. Singles, duos or trios would be booked there. There was a $1 cover charge on weekdays and $2 cover charge on weekends. Owner Nancy Dow would circulate around the small room politely asking people at each table in the audience to cease talking (“Shhh”) and to listen to the music, much to the entertainers’ eternal gratitude! The music went on ‘til late. Last set of the evening ended at 3:30 a.m. We were fortunate to have played there frequently in the 1970s and 1980s.
Barclay’s American Grille – At the Carlton Hotel in Oak Park. The stage is situated on a high balcony overlooking the people at the bar and tables and booths down below.
Beef ‘N Stein – On Wells Street in Chicago’s Old Town, this is where Jim, Bill and Joe played some of their very first gigs in the late 60s.
Big Joe’s 2 and 6 Pub – Shot and a beer joint on Foster Avenue. Turtle races were conducted on the pool table top during our breaks.
Blue Gargoyle – Folk music venue at the University of Chicago in Hyde Park during the 1970s.
Blue River (Milwaukee) – New Dooley Band was here in the mid 70s.
Brian Boru’s – Short-lived restaurant on Madison Street in Forest Park had formerly been Molly Malone’s.
The Bulls – Subterranean seven-days-a-week renowned music nightclub had its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s. It was located in the basement of a big apartment building a half block behind Lincoln Avenue a little ways south of Armitage Avenue – address was 1916 Lincoln Park West. Police would occasionally drop in during the evening in response to upstairs neighbors’ complaints about the volume of the live music. Which begs the question, what did you expect when you decided to move into an apartment directly above a bar?
The Bulls had excellent mellow “basement acoustics.” Bands played four sets a night ‘til 3:30 a.m. and five sets on Saturday finishing at 4:30 a.m.! After packing up and loading our gear into our cars it would be daylight and we’d go up the street to the Laugh-In Restaurant for breakfast.
Burton Place – Neighborhood bar on Wells Street in Old Town where we played in the 80s.
Butch McGuire’s – Fabled long-running lively singles bar on Division Street off Rush Street in Chicago.
Butcher Shop – Corner saloon on North Avenue in Chicago’s Old Town where Joe, Bill and Jim had their first paying gig in the late 1960s.
Byfield’s at the Ambassador East – Hotel cabaret where the Dooleys participated in the taping of the Emmy-Award winning Channel 11 WTTW program “Nightclubbing” before a live audience.
Camel’s Hump – Barn-like rock venue in Hanover Park where the band cranked it out in the 1970s.
Capone’s Roadhouse – Wheeling, Illinois saloon on Milwaukee Avenue purportedly owned by Al Capone in the 1930s.
Celtic Crown Public House – On North Western Avenue in Chicago.
Chances R – Restaurant and bar just off Rush Street where Mike had his first paying gig with his brothers in April of 1971.
Charlie Club – Joliet health club had a barroom for entertainment after a workout. Flex those elbows at the bar!
Chief O’Neil’s – Irish themed pub and restaurant on North Elston Avenue.
Chuck’s Fat Chance Saloon – Bar on Lincoln Avenue with a big dance floor that previously housed the Vibes.
Columbia Yacht Club – A ship docked on the shore of Lake Michigan at Randolph Street in Chicago and occasionally bands were hired to perform on it.
Como Inn – Near Northside Chicago restaurant.
Cubby Bear Lounge – Bar right across from Wrigley Field.
Curragh – Irish themed bar in Schaumberg.
Dooley’s Pub & Eatery – Schaumburg establishment (no relation). We played at their grand opening in the Summer of ’92. Who else could they have had!
Durty Nellies (Palatine) – Pub with several large rooms including a very good music room at the back of the complex.
Eagles – Chicago area establishment where we played in the mid 70s.
Earl of Olde Town – Earl Pionke’s legendary folk music venue on Wells Street and North Avenue in the heart of Old Town.
Elks Club (Ludington, Michigan)
Emerald Isle – Far northwest side Irish pub.
Excalibur – Dearborn Street near northside multi-floored establishment whose exterior resembled a castle.
Fifth Peg – Folk music club on Armitage Avenue right across the street from the Old Town School of Folk Music.
FitzGerald’s – Iconic Berwyn nightclub founded and run by the congenial Bill FitzGerald and his family from 1981 to 2020, hosting a wide variety of live entertainment six nights week for all that time. The Dooleys performed there regularly from the very beginning in 1981 until 2020 and played for FitzGerald’s annual St. Patrick’s Day celebrations 37 years in a row.
Four Farthings Pub – The Dooley Band rung in the New Year at this Lincoln Avenue pub on several New Year’s Eves in the 80s.
Fox’s Pub – Large southside Irish pub and restaurant on Cicero Avenue and 93rd Street founded by Tom Fox. Bands would be hired for Wednesdays through Sundays for an entire month at a time. Patrons would deluge the bands with their requests written on bar napkins or simply just shout out their requests at any given moment.
Friendship Hall – The Dooleys appeared in concert at this DesPlaines, Illinois auditorium many times in the 1980s and 90s, usually on a double bill with another folk act. The concert series was produced by the amicable Steve Durlacher.
Gaelic Park – Big gathering place for southside Irish on 147th Street in Oak Forest. When we first played there in the 1980s it was only a single one room building surrounded by cornfields. Since then, it has evolved into a spectacular sprawling complex of banquet halls, pubs, theatres, festival grounds, and athletic fields.
The Gage – Restaurant on Michigan Avenue across the street from the Art Institute.
Gare St. Lazare – Restaurant and bar on Armitage Avenue where we would play occasionally and also on some New Year’s Eves in the 1970s and 80s. Formerly was the Fifth Peg.
Gate of Horn – Legendary folk music venue was resurrected in New Town on North Broadway. Joe, Bill, Jim and Mike played some shows there in the early 70s.
Germania Inn – Northside restaurant and club.
Goldyburgers – The Goldstein family opened this Forest Park saloon as a speakeasy during Prohibition in the 1920s. Around 1980 current owner and the affable ever-present Mike Sullivan purchased it and happily we have been playing there every year since then. Naturally, the “Goldyburger” is their house specialty. As their slogan goes, “Never had a bad one!” And we’ve eaten plenty of ‘em over the years!
Grovers Oyster Bar – We appeared at both locations, on Irving Park Road just east of Western Avenue and in Glenview.
Hackney’s on Lake – Glenview restaurant.
Happy Medium – Primarily a comedy club, we nevertheless did our musical show at this Rush Street place on several occasions in the 70s.
Harry Hopes – Music club in Cary, Illinois where we performed in the 1970s. It was such a distance for us to have to drive home so late at night the manager felt sorry for us and he let us bring our sleeping bags and crash on the carpeted floor in the barroom overnight. Right next to the beer taps . . .
Healy’s – Exuberant bar on Madison Street in Forest Park where we played numerous times from the 80s through the 00s.
Heartland Café – Very casual and homey restaurant where one could eat a healthy organic meal and wash it down with a cold brew. Always fun for us when we did a show there.
Hibernian Hall – Southside Irish social club.
Hinky Dink Kenna’s – Located in the basement of Marshall Field’s State Street store right next to the downtown underground pedway, where from our vantage point on the stage we could observe the commuters through the windows hurrying along nearby at rush hour. We would play a couple of sets for drop-ins who were stopping for a bite to eat or for a few drinks in the late afternoon and early evening.
Holsteins – Lincoln Avenue music club run by the Holstein brothers, Fred, Ed and Al. A great place to put on a show or to catch a show. Formerly Ratso’s.
Irish American Heritage Center – Ever since it opened in 1985 we have been appearing there frequently on a regular basis – about 400 appearances in the Fifth Province Pub alone and probably 100 more appearances for auditorium concerts, special events and private parties inside the big three-story building and outside at the festivals on the building grounds. It’s our home away from home!
Irish Times – Brookfield bar and restaurant where we put on our show right next to the cozy fireplace.
Irish Village – Venerable popular Irish restaurant at 6215 W. Diversey in Chicago had music six nights a week. Owner Jim O’Neill was there every day without fail, from opening until closing time, looking dapper in his suit and tie and crisp white shirt, welcoming his customers at each and every table and shaking their hands. We played there often in the 1980s and 1990s.
JJ Finnegan’s (West Dundee) – Restaurant and bar in a shopping mall.
John Barleycorn Memorial Pub – Longtime Lincoln Avenue restaurant known for its random art slide shows continuously projected on the walls and for its tasty pitchers of imported beer.
Juicy John Pink’s (DeKalb) – Bar for the college students at Northern Illinois University.
Kerry Piper – Raucous bar and restaurant in Willowbrook.
Kilkenny Castle Inn – Legendary Irish restaurant and pub at 3808 N. Central Avenue in Chicago from 1977 to 1986. Was founded and run by the Brady family, Margaret, Peter and Eamonn, originally from Kilkenny Ireland. Their musical group, The Brogue, performed on stage practically every night. In the Spring of 1978 we began appearing there and oftentimes would alternate shows with the Brogue through the evening. Then at the end of the night both bands would sing together on stage.
The receptive audience would enthusiastically clap and sing along to the uptempo songs but were quiet and attentive when a ballad was sung. It was truly a friendly pub “where everybody knows your name.”
Killarney Castle – Was a Palos Hills restaurant and bar at 103rd and Roberts Road where we appeared in the 1980s. We would be there Wednesdays through Sundays every week for a month at a time.
Kingston Mines – When it first opened in the 1970s it was on Lincoln Avenue and featured a wide variety of music before becoming strictly a blues club and moving to its current Halsted Street location.
Kitty O’Shea’s – Boisterous Irish pub on the ground floor of the Chicago Hilton and Towers on South Michigan Avenue.
Kinney’s Bar (Tulla) – Friendly pub in Tulla, County Clare Ireland where we would sing our songs and enjoy pints of room-temperature Guinness.
Lackey’s Steakhouse – Rogers Park restaurant with interior walls painted black. We were there on New Year’s Eve once in the mid-70s. A few years later it became the Heartland Café and yes, they repainted the walls.
Le Creperie – Excellent French restaurant on North Clark Street where we occasionally would play in the 1980s and 1990s. Delicious crepes were always included as part of our pay.
Lizzie McNeil’s – Downtown pub overlooking the Chicago River.
L Woods Tap and Pine Lodge – Restaurant in Lincolnwood Illinois – like being in a wood paneled Wisconsin rustic establishment.
McNamara’s – Neighborhood pub and restaurant on West Irving Park Road.
McNally’s (Elmhurst) – Irish themed pub.
McNally’s (St. Charles) – Irish themed pub.
Mickey Rogers Pub (Scarriff) – Bustling east County Clare pub in Ireland where we played in 1977.
Mill Race Inn – Storied Geneva Illinois restaurant had several dining areas. Sometimes we played at its indoor restaurants – The Mill Grill, Mallards, The Duck Inn. Primarily we were outside in the open air under the sky on the wooden deck at the “Gazebo” during the seasonable warmer months for many delightful evenings. It was situated right along the banks of the tree-lined Fox River. The setting was very intimate with the audience seated at tables literally only a few feet from the band. We played nearly two hundred dates here during the 80s and 90s.
Minogue’s (Tulla) – Convivial pub at the center of the village of Tulla in County Clare Ireland. Had a barroom in front and a large music room in back where regular patrons would retire to after “closing time” when the Garda would come knocking at the front door.
Minstrels – Riotous bar on north Sheridan Road nearby to Loyola University. When we asked the manager why he blasted the jukebox so extremely loud during our breaks he replied, “The louder the music the more everyone needs to drink!”
Mister Kelly’s – Famed Rush Street nightclub headlining nationally famous acts and also occasionally featuring the local eclectic group (i.e. The Dooley Band).
Mister Kiley’s – Neighborhood country music bar on Belmont a few blocks west of Sheffield. Name was no doubt a take-off on the nationally known Mister Kelly’s.
Molly Malone’s – Friendly Forest Park restaurant and pub on Madison Street where we enjoyed many a night playing our music for the convivial crowd during the 90s and 00s.
Moosehead Bar – Was located in downtown Chicago one block south of Congress Parkway.
Mother’s – Singles dance club on Division just west of Rush Street. In the 70s we played there with our larger band including drums. Our sound system was amplified to the max but the manager still kept asking us to turn our volume up and up and up.
Muldoon’s Saloon – Pub at 22 West Elm Street just off Rush Street on Chicago’s north side.
Murphy’s (Michigan) – No frills bar in western Michigan farm country.
Northside Auditorium Bar – Basement bar and music venue on North Clark Street also called NAB.
Old Shillelagh – Park Forest restaurant where the owner was affectionately referred to as Rughead.
Old Town School of Folk Music – 909 West Armitage in Chicago. On many occasions our band would put on our own concerts in the main music hall to an attentive and appreciative audience. In the 1980s and 1990s the Dooleys often played on the WBEZ National Public Radio program emanating live from the Old Town School on Sunday evenings.
Then every February there was the annual all-night George Washington birthday party which was a benefit for the school. There would be about 20 musical acts playing their sets one after another on the main stage on the first floor. Meanwhile upstairs in the classrooms musicians would be randomly jamming together. Those parties would literally go on all night until folks would stumble out the door onto the street at daylight.
Orphans – Top notch music club across from the Biograph Theatre at the northwest corner of Lincoln Avenue and Montana Street. The Orphans hired all kinds of local Chicago bands – folk, rock, jazz – of a consistently high quality, for practically every night of the week.
You would come in off the street, walk past the long bar, and at far end of the barroom go through a set of doors to an enclosed music listening room. Orphans was one of our performing mainstays in the 1970s and 80s and 90s where we could present our original music to an appreciative audience. (As a footnote, the men’s washroom was considered to have the best collection of humorous bathroom graffiti in Chicago.)
Otto’s – Halsted Street restaurant and bar had a nice side music room. One night the great Jethro Burns dropped by and graciously sat in with us playing his mandolin. On our free evenings when we were not playing, we whiled away many a warm summer night over pitchers of cold beer in Otto’s splendid spacious outdoor beer garden.
Peggy Kinnane’s (Arlington Heights) – Restaurant and bar in downtown Arlington Heights.
Penny Lane Lounge –The stage was at the front of the barroom and as we played we could peer out over our shoulders through the big plate glass windows right behind us onto busy North Western Avenue as the massive CTA buses rumbled by only a few feet away.
The inhabitants at this bar were wild and crazy but friendly. An acquaintance came to hear us there once and was appalled that there were people actually dancing on top of the tables knocking bottles and glasses smashing to the floor. She exclaimed, “Goodness, what will the owners think when they see them doing that?” Brother Joe calmly answered her, “Those are the owners!”
Petersen’s Ice Cream Parlor – Longtime revered Oak Park restaurant on Chicago Avenue. We sadly only played there on one afternoon – at their closing party. We sure miss those chocolate malts!
Pheasant Run – Theatre and restaurant complex on North Avenue (Route 64) just outside of St. Charles, Illinois.
Quigley’s (Naperville) – Energetic Naperville tavern where we put in many nights in the 90s and 00s.
Rally Alley – Rush Street club where Joe, Bill and Jim performed in the late 1960s.
Ratso’s – Music club in the 1970s on Lincoln Avenue right next to Orphans, it hosted national and local music acts. The brothers played there in the early 70s.
Redford’s Pub – In the 80s we played at this brightly lit up establishment on Halsted just south of Wrightwood.
Reilly’s Daughter Pub – Rollicking Oak Lawn pub at 111th Street and Pulaski Road where we often played in the 70s, 80s and 90s.
Robin Hood Lounge – Downtown restaurant on Wacker Drive with a panoramic view of the Chicago River through its windows. Our music took place during late afternoon to accompany the local office workers’ Happy Hour.
Rosemont Horizon – We were part of a big Irish show there with several bands in March 1982.
The Roxy – Legendary bar and restaurant and music club owned by Pat and Betty Murray, two of the nicest people you would ever want to meet. It was simply one of the friendliest places around. The Roxy had a movie motif with lots of old movie posters and memorabilia from the 1930s and 1940s adorning the walls, plus a jukebox of old classic songs.
Best of all, it was a tremendous setting for live music shows – audiences were always attentive and appreciative. The Roxy was one of our main favorite places to perform during the 1970s, 80s and 90s. The first Roxy was on the southeast corner of Wrightwood and Racine. There the bar and stage area were all contained in a single big room. Later on the Roxy moved to a larger space on Fullerton Avenue, just east of Ashland. That location had a barroom and a separate enclosed concert room.
Ruby Gulch (Champaign) – The New Dooley Band played here in the mid-1970s. Music saloon was popular with thirsty University of Illinois students.
Ruggles – Bar and music space on the lower level of the Royal George Theatre on Halsted Street where we did our musical shows in the 1990s.
Rusty Scupper – Restaurant on the near north side of Chicago where the band played in the 70s.
Saddle Club – Neighborhood bar on North Avenue in the Old Town area where folkies would strum their acoustic guitars and sing on Thursday nights in the 1970s.
Sally’s Stage – Sizable music emporium on North Western Avenue in Chicago.
Salty’s – Nautical themed bar that took over the space at 3808 N. Central in Chicago after the Kilkenny Castle Inn closed in 1986.
Scruffy Murphy’s – Noisy bar on West Addison Street.
Shannon Pub – Rough and tumble patrons populated this Irish tavern on 99th Street on Chicago’s south side where we played in the 1980s. One of them might want to fight you if you couldn’t or wouldn’t play his request. Then an hour later that same person would be buying you drinks at the bar wanting to be your best buddy.
Single File Pub – DePaul area bar practically under the elevated tracks on Webster Avenue on Chicago’s north side. Nice guy 400+ pound Big Chuck was the gargantuan owner of this high spirited saloon.
6511 Club – Name gotten from the fact the bar’s address was 6511 South Kedzie. Lots of folks just over from Ireland frequented it.
Somebody Else’s Troubles – Lincoln Avenue bar featuring live folk music was owned by Earl Pionke, Steve Goodman and the Holstein Brothers.
Sportman’s Restaurant & Bar – This restaurant in downtown Ludington Michigan operated for decades by jovial owner Mike Payment. Local patrons enthusiastically enjoyed our music and the renowned Sportsman’s pizzas.
Sterch’s – Longtime bar at 2238 N. Lincoln Avenue was owned by Bob Smerch. Deep fried carrot slices were the specialty of the kitchen.
The Store – Crowded bar just off Rush Street where we played in the early 70s. The first floor was dedicated to folk music. The second floor was for rock music. While we performed on the first floor there was a group just starting out, playing on the second floor called CTA, which later changed the name of their group to Chicago.
The Spot – Was an Evanston eatery popular for its pizza.
Tavern on the Fox – Renovated warehouse was transformed into a trendy restaurant and tavern overlooking the Fox River in downtown Geneva, Illinois.
Teasers – Riotous and rambunctious singles bar on Higgins Avenue on Chicago’s far northwest side where we just barely survived the evening a few times in the early 80s.
There Is No Name – Jack Hackett owned this bar, first on West Irving Park Road and later moved it to an industrial area on Cicero Avenue near Division Street. Bar was visited occasionally by a motorcycle gang who luckily liked our music. Jack had always wanted to have his own bar but couldn’t come up with a name he really liked, so . . .
Tim Ryan’s Pub (Cleveland) Ohio Irish themed pub and restaurant that featured live music evenings.
T.S. Boonies – Saloon and eatery on Third Street in Geneva, Illinois, where Joe, Jim and Mike played in the 90s.
Twisted Q – On Saturday nights in the 2010s this Homewood, Illinois fast food restaurant became a folk music venue.
Valley Lo Sports Club – Pleasant Glenview country club regularly had live music inside on weekend evenings and then the fun would move outdoors in the summer months on balmy afternoons and evenings.
The Vibes – Rock and roll singles bar on Lincoln Avenue next to the infamous Oxford Pub had a big dance floor. Still one of the coolest names for a music bar.
Waltzing Matilda’s – Southside Irish serious drinkers frequented this bar in Mt. Greenwood on 111th Street.
The Way Station – Bar and restaurant on Addison Street a few blocks west of Harlem Avenue where personable manager Mike McCurdy promoted a folk music schedule and where the Dooley Band – Joe, Bill, Jim and Mike played in 1973.
Wellington Avenue Church – Located just west of Broadway this church sponsored folk music concerts in the mid-70s which is when we appeared on a double bill with our friends The Rosehip String Band.
Willie’s Dine and Dance – Mount Greenwood saloon on 111th Street named in honor of southside legend and all-around good guy Willie Winters.
Willowbrook Ballroom – Our band played several shows in the 1980s at this historic Willow Springs venue on Archer Avenue.
Wingfield’s – Restaurant and bar at a hotel in Chesterton, Indiana, where Joe, Jim and Mike played on many Wednesday nights in the 90s. Hotel patrons and folks driving in from many miles away would come by for the music.
Wise Fools Pub – Famed Lincoln Avenue pub which featured folk, rock, and jazz music before it went to all blues later in the 1980s. We played there frequently in the 70s and 80s.
Wobbly Hall – Union hall on north Lincoln Avenue where we did a few benefits in the mid-1970s.
Z’s Tap – Bar on North Dearborn where the band performed a couple of times in the 80s.
Dear Reader – We hope you enjoyed perusing this list and maybe it helped you to recall some pleasant memories. These are most of the clubs and music venues we have played at through the years but we know we must have omitted some. Let us know if you have any additions or even if you were at any of these places to hear our band. (Note: This list is only meant to set down the names of the clubs and music venues where we have played and does not include the many Festivals, Park Districts, Villages, Libraries, Country Clubs, Colleges, Parishes, etc. we appeared at through the years.)
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