Are you looking for some entertainment, but want to stay close to home?

Good news: Plenty of places around the neighborhood have food and music combos that’ll save you a drive into the city.


In Oak Park’s Carleton Hotel, this restaurant-named for a village historian-is infusing hip-minded fun into its traditional ways with live jazz every night. The acts are all Chicago draws; among them: Sarah Marie Young, Marshall Vente, Kara Kesselring, John Wright, Holly McGuire, Skinny Williams, Steelin Jazz and Done Deal.

1110 Pleasant St., Oak Park; 708-848-0537; Entertainment: 7:30 to 11 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 8 p.m. to midnight Friday, Saturday; 7 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

Hemmingway’s Bistro

This French-themed eatery gets its name from the Hemingway museum across the street, but they’d rather treat you to some fresh seafood than The Old Man and the Sea. If you stop in for brunch on a Sunday or for Flirtinis (martinis at a savings) on a Wednesday night, you’ll also be treated to live jazz.

211 N. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park; 708-524-0806; Entertainment: Wednesday nights and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays

Trattoria 225

The Oak Park dining establishment known for its locavore chef, Craig Charlton, also is local in the entertainment it brings in. Such Oak Park names as Boxcar Billy and Compass Rose have played Trattoria 225 during the Arts District’s regular Third Friday events.

225 Harrison St., Oak Park; 708-358-8555; Entertainment: third Fridays

La Bella Bistecca

There’s live reggae on Thursday evenings at the new eat-and-drink-o-plex off Madison Street. On Friday nights, there are performers inspired by Sinatra. At a restaurant that blends Creole cooking with Italian cuisine-and one which has a companion wine cellar, expect more fun acts. Dinner service begins at 4:30 p.m. seven days a week.

410 Circle Ave., Forest Park; 708-771-8466; Entertainment: Thursday and Friday evenings

Maya Del Sol

Guitarra Azul, a classically trained Latin jazz quartet, is so good we heard about the three guitarists and one percussionist from one of their competitors. You’ll find them on Friday nights at Maya, where there’s also live music on Saturday nights, which varies from samba to Brazilian jazz to Flamenco-rumba.

144 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park; 708-358-9800; Entertainment: Friday and Saturday nights

The Buzz Café

Folk and blues bands at this coffeehouse anchor of the Oak Park Arts District make for a casual and early-shop closes at 9 p.m.-option for a musical side to your meal. The theme on Friday and Saturday nights is Burgers, Beers and Bands. You bring your own beer and get to choose among organic burgers on the dinner menu.

905 S. Lombard Ave, Oak Park; 708-524-2899; Entertainment: Friday and Saturday nights

Doc Ryan’s

Another casual dining-and-listening option is at the place known for its pizza and its shillelaghs. Doc Ryan’s has live music every Saturday night at 10 p.m.

7432 W. Madison, Forest Park; 708-366-2823; Entertainment: Saturday nights year-round, some Friday nights in the spring

Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor

Local music acts are part of the family-friendly vibe at this old-fashioned ice cream shop. Musicians come in all ages and perform all styles. And one night a week, they top off the mainline treats. This month’s flavor is Cinnamon Apple Crisp.

7347 W. Madison, Forest Park; 708-366-7970; Entertainment: 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays

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