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Chicagoist Historianista: What Lurks Below the Green Mill

By Karl Klockars in Miscellaneous on Jul 15, 2007 7:00PM

07_15_greenmill.jpgWe pause from our wall-to-wall coverage of Pitchfork to focus on a musical destination of a different kind: Uptown's Green Mill. Whenever people come in from town, there is a short list of places we like to take 'em. One constant is a trip to the Mill - not only for the bad-ass Manhattans and the live jazz, but for the sense of history, aged grit and old-world charm that the Mill practically bleeds.

The history of the Green Mill is epic, and has been covered by better people than us - ancient bar, gangster's hangout, Capone's booth, Machine Gun McGurn and his part-ownership, his propensity to slit throats when his talent takes off for another club, oft-repeated film location, so on and so forth. But one thing we'd never seen examined was the tunnels beneath the place. Until Rob Elder at the Tribune took a peek.

07_15_ric_greenmill_tunnels.pngThe tunnels (which are less extensive than we had hoped they would be, at least in what they showed) are basically a big pisser, at least on the side of Shake Rattle and Read. The downstairs of the Green Mill itself used to be used by Capone and other gangsters in their escapes from raiding cops.

An excellent video from the Trib is bundled in with the story - follow Ric Addy, proprietor of the aforementioned Shake Rattle and Read through the basements and downstairs - and marvel at early 20th century urinal technology! However, rumor has it that there's even more extensive tunnels below the Aragon Ballroom. We'll meet you down there.

Images courtesy of the Trib and Timeless inquiries and ancient requests to

We now return you to all Pitchfork, all the time.