Visiting an old Capone hang out

Finding Al host Leon Willey outside the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge in Chicago.
Photo by Thomas Bartlett
The Finding Al crew visited Capone's old hangout in Chicago, the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, to see if anyone there might have heard about the gangster's Canadian connections. 

During the Prohibition era, Jack McGurn of Al Capone's Chicago Outfit was a part-owner. 

Capone's favorite booth is still there, directly west of the short end of the bar. The booth afforded Capone and his men clear views of both the front and back entrances to the establishment. 

It is rumored there is still an access hatch to the tunnels located directly behind the long end of the bar that leads underneath the street to an adjacent building; which would have allowed Capone a quick escape if the authorities paid a visit to the Green Mill. 

Today, the Green Mill is known for its jazz and poetry performances, along with its connections to Chicago mob history. 

Originally named Pop Morse's Roadhouse, the business opened in 1907. It was renamed Green Mill Gardens a few years later, a nod to the famous Moulin Rouge ("Red Mill") of Paris.

In its early years, it was a popular hangout for movie actors from nearby Essanay Studios. The namesake gardens were removed in the 1920s during the construction of the Uptown Theatre on the same block. 

After the end of Prohibition, the Green Mill became a more reputable establishment, attracting many popular jazz acts. 

Singer and comedian Joe E. Lewis was attacked by McGurn's men in 1927 after he refused to take his act to the Green Mill. Lewis' throat was slashed, but he survived. The incident inspired the 1957 film The Joker is Wild

The business began to struggle in the 1970s, but was revitalized with a new owner in the 1980s. 

In 1986, the Green Mill became home to the Uptown Poetry Slam. 

For those of you who have never been, the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge is on Broadway in Uptown, Chicago. 

Over the years, the Green Mill has appeared in many films, such as Thief (1981), Next of Kin (1989), V. I. Warshawski (1991), Prelude to a Kiss (1992), Folks! (1992), Soul Food (1997) and High Fidelity (2000).

And soon it will get a mention in Finding Al.