Dooleys’ club gigs 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 music 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 carpeted living room.

Andy’s – Near north side long-running jazz club.

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 nightclub had good sightlines and a great vibe to it. Right 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 round cocktail tables clustered right in front of and to the side of the raised stage. Above the bar was a small balcony that would hold a dozen or so people. The tiny stage, wedged into a corner of the room, would barely fit a trio onto it and was elevated six feet off the floor. The stage floor was multicolored plexiglass that was lit up from underneath.

The Barbarossa was an intimate folk music venue where 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 show of the evening ended at 3:30 a.m.

Barclay’s American Grille – At the Carlton Hotel in Oak Park. The stage was situated on a high balcony overlooking the people at the bar and tables and booths 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 Avenue on Forest Park had formerly been Molly Malone’s.

The Bulls – Subterranean six-days-a-week renowned music nightclub located in the basement of a big apartment building a half block behind Lincoln Avenue a little ways south of Armitage Avenue. 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.

Butch McGuire’s – Infamous 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 one of their first paying gigs in the late 1960s.

Byfield’s at the Ambassador East – Hotel music room where the Dooleys participated in the taping of the Emmy-Award winning Channel 11 WTTW program “Nightclubbing.”

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!

Chief O’Neil’s – Irish themed pub and restaurant on North Elston Avenue.

Chuck’s Fat Chance Saloon – Bar on Lincoln Avenue with big dance floor that previously housed the Vibes.

Columbia Yacht Club – A small ship docked on the shore of Lake Michigan in Chicago and occasionally bands performed on deck.

Como Inn – Near north Chicago restaurant.

Cubby Bear Lounge – Bar right across from Wrigley Field.

Curragh – Irish themed bar in Schaumberg.

Durty Nellies (Palatine) – Pub with several large rooms including a very good music room at the back of the complex.

Earl of Olde Town – Earl Pionke’s legendary folk music room 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 north 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 New Year’s Eve at this Lincoln Avenue pub several times in the 80s.

Fox’s Pub – Large southside Irish pub and restaurant at 93rd and Cicero 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.

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 small building surrounded by cornfields. Since then, it has evolved into a spectacular sprawling complex of banquet halls, pubs, theatres 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 on some New Year’s Eves in the 1970s.

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 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.

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 at the festivals, special events and private parties inside the big building and outside 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 folks 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 1985. 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 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 in the Chicago Hilton and Towers on Michigan Avenue.

Kinney’s Bar (Tulla) – Friendly pub in Tulla, County Clare Ireland where we would do our music and enjoy a few pints of 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.

Le Creperie – Excellent French restaurant where we occasionally would play in the 1980s and 1990s.

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 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. 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 on 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 had at least a couple hundred dates here throughout 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 featuring the occasional eclectic local group (i.e. The Dooley Band).

Mister Kiley’s – Local 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.

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, and the manager kept asking us to turn our volume up and up and up.

Muldoon’s Saloon – Pub on Elm Street a few blocks west of Rush Street on Chicago’s north side.

Murphy’s (Michigan) – No frills bar in western Michigan farm country.

New Gate of Horn – Folk music club on north Broadway in New Town where we appeared in the early 70s.

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 known as Rughead.

Old Town School of Folk Music – 909 West Armitage in Chicago. Our band would often give our own concerts in the main music hall to an attentive and appreciative audience. In the 1980s and 1990s the Dooleys often played for the WBEZ National Public Radio program emanating 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. On stage there would be about 20 musical acts performing their sets one after another. 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 at the northwest corner of Lincoln Avenue and Montana Street that had all kinds of local bands – folk, rock, jazz – of a consistently high quality, every night of the week. You would walk in off the street, through the barroom and go through a set of doors to an enclosed music listening room. Orphans was one of our performing mainstays in the 1970s and 80s 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 bathroom graffiti in Chicago.)

Otto’s – Halsted Street restaurant and bar had a nice side music room. One night the great Jethro Burns dropped in and graciously sat in with us with his mandolin. On our free evenings we whiled away many a warm summer night over pitchers of cold beer in Otto’s splendid beer garden outside.

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. A friend came to hear us there once and was appalled that there were people actually dancing on top of the tables knocking bottles and glasses to the floor. She said, “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 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.

Quigley’s (Naperville) – Energetic Naperville tavern.

Rally Alley – Rush Street club where Joe, Bill and Jim performed in the late 1960s.

Ratso’s – Music club on Lincoln Avenue right next to Orphans, it presented national and local music acts.

Reilly’s Daughter Pub – Rollicking Oak Lawn pub at 111th Street and Pulaski Road where we often played in the 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 1980.

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 the main places for us 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 club 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 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 and restaurant that took over the space at 3808 N. Central in Chicago after the Kilkenny Castle Inn closed.

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. One of them might challenge you to a fight if you couldn’t or wouldn’t play his request. Then an hour later the same person would be your best buddy buying you drinks at the bar.

Single File Pub – DePaul area bar practically under the elevated tracks on Webster Avenue on Chicago’s north side. Good guy 400+ pound Big Chuck was the owner of this spirited saloon.

6511 Club – Name gotten from the fact the bar’s address was 6511 South Kedzie. Lots of first generation south side Irish called it their own.

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 establishment in downtown Ludington Michigan has been operated for decades by jovial owner Mike Payment. Local patrons enthusiastically enjoyed our music.

Sterch’s – Longtime Lincoln Avenue bar 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 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 – Bar in Evanston.

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 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. 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) Irish themed pub and restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio that featured live music evenings.

Twisted Q – On Saturday nights this Homewood, Illinois fast food restaurant became a folk music venue.

Valley Lo Sports Club – Pleasant Glenview country club often had live music inside 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 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 genial manager Mike McCurdy promoted a folk music schedule and where the Dooleys played in the very early 1970s.

Willie’s Dine and Dance – Mount Greenwood saloon on 111th Street named in honor of southside legend and all-around good guy Willie Winters.

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 in the 70s and early 80s.

Wobbly Hall – Union hall on north Lincoln Avenue where we did a few benefits in the early 1970s.

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 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 where we have played and does not include the many Park Districts, Villages, Libraries, Party Venues, Colleges, Parishes, etc. we appeared at through the years.)

Perhaps you have a story or two to share.

We would love to hear from you! Email us at

dooleyinfo@dooleybrothers.com