Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

What’s Hot In Chicago? The Jazz Showcase

The Jazz Showcase is hot.

Jazz Showcase   806 S. Plymouth Ct. Chicago, IL  Sets at 8PM and 10PM Mon-Sat; sets at 4PM, 8PM, 10PM on Sunday.

This jazz club is located in the historic Dearborn Station Building in Chicago. You can miss it if you drive past it too quickly. This place is great for live jazz. You’ll get local artists, national artists, and big stars. It just depends on the night.

The night I took the pictures below was a great night. The husband and I headed a gig for a friend of his, Milton Suggs, who has an amazing voice. This place was perfect for a date night with the low lighting, good wine, and great music.

Everything in there is red, so don’t wear red if you intend to take pictures. But the red is a perfect color to compliment all the pictures on the walls. Most of the wall space in this venue has pictures of jazz greats, well-known, and not so well-known. It’s a low-lit chill spot where you can listen to some live music and enjoy a drink with your friends or on a date. I would suggest you make dinner plans beforehand. They start late and there aren’t many places open nearby for food after the set lets out.

It’s worth it to note how great the staff is. The bartender is friendly and knowledgeable. The guy who works the door is hilarious and warm. The waitresses are timely and always have a smile. And if they decide you are worth flirting with, you’ll get even better service.

I’d Recommend: Sitting close to the stage. There are lounge chairs and couches spread around, so you can choose your level of comfort. But when you are close to the stage, there is an intimacy you feel with the artists on stage. It’s like they’re doing the show for you. And if you want to talk to them after the set (which most artists seem to love), you won’t really have to wait in line because you’re already in the front.

Stay Away From: The walls. There are tables lining the walls, but there is a lot of traffic as that’s where people have to walk to go the bar and to go to the bathroom. And in the winter, there is a draft by the windows. It’s just kind of disconnected from the rest of the venue even though it’s right in the same room. The point of going to a club like this is for that close-up-to-the-music feeling, so don’t take away from it.

This club gets the extra factor because of how cozy it is and also because of how great the service is from the staff.  There is no food, so no points there. The music is top notch, just make sure you do some research on the type of artist playing the night you go so you don’t stumble upon free jazz when you wanted standards. The drinks are adequate, as they have all the staples you need (312 beer, at least 4 red and 4 white wines, etc.). The atmosphere is great, but not perfect. The price range is what you’d expect for a bar in the South Loop area of Chicago, which means it’s more than what’d you’d like to pay. They consistently got 3/3 and 4/5 out of many reviews.

[Score has a max of 4 pts for each section] Food (0); Music (4); Drinks (2); Atmosphere (4); Price (2); Consumer Review (3); Extra Factor (1)

The Jazz Showcase gets a score of 16 out of 25. They could improve their score if they lowered their prices or expanded their drinks menu. I don’t expect they’ll ever add food, and you just can’t get over a 20 without that. And now on to the pictures.

When you first walk in to the main area, you see this behind the stage. It doesn’t actually glow red, that’s just the red curtains, lights, and walls making it glow in photo.

This blurry picture is a shot towards the back. There are some great light fixtures making the low lighting over the bar. At least over there you can read the menus.

As you can see in this pic of the husband and me, there aren’t a lot of lights around the room. All the more reason to sit close to the stage. Unless of course, you like hanging out in the dark corners…

Two nice glasses of wine and we didn’t even have to ask for the water. They really do have great service here. Just keep your cell phone out so you can read the drinks menu. That little candle was the only light within 10 feet of our table.

This is Milton Suggs singing. He has an amazing voice. Also, you can see the basic layout of the stage here. Every show I’ve been to is set up this way, thought you can see the drums off to the side.

I just had to throw in this shot because it’s the husband playing. He hates wearing his glasses, so he’s not a fan of this pic. But come on son, I had to show him on the horn at the Jazz Showcase!

Image via This is what the Jazz Showcase looks like from the outside.

One response

  1. You def know whats the hot spots for a lady such as my kind…just fab my lady!

    August 31, 2012 at 05:20