One of the city's—and the nation's—top blues clubs, this intimate, lively venue strung with Christmas lights year-round is perpetually packed with music fans. Cofounders Eric King and Roger Gregory, who opened the place in 1986 (and named it for famous Georgia bluesman Blind Willie McTell) keep the performance schedule filled with both terrific local acts (like singer Francine Reed) as well as A-listers like Junior Wells and Taj Mahal. There's a bar menu and a short wine list—but you'll do best to stick to beer.
Tip: For a seat near the stage, especially on weekends, show up right when the bar opens at 7 p.m.—and prepare to stay a while, as the shows here can last into the wee hours.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.