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Checkerboard Lounge

View Map5201 S. Harper Ct., Chicago
Tel: (773) 684-1472
Details Find What Else Is Nearby Checkerboard Lounge User Reviews

Editorial Review of Checkerboard Lounge

After much ballyhoo over the Checkerboard's move from Bronzeville, the mecca of blues has finally reopened in well-to-do Hyde Park. While the Rolling Stones, Junior Wells and Buddy Guy will never occupy the Checkerboard stage again, the new incarnation remains devoted to jazz and blues.

Owner L.C. Thurman is determined not to let his club pander to tourists (local and foreign) who come to hear "Sweet Home Chicago," "Mustang Sally," "Hootchie Kootchie Man" and "The Thrill is Gone" over and over again. Instead, on a Saturday night, one might come across Vance Kelly wrapping up his set with a medley of Motown classics.

Some of the Women's Workout World mystique, which previously occupied the site, was passed onto the club. The sizeable space seats 147 people under a soaring ceiling. The acoustics are jarring, and the audience could play baseball under the lights. Save for a few posters behind the stage and a row of framed star photos, decoration is limited to neon beer signs and a strip of checkered tile along the wall. Ashtrays on every table leave a trace of grit. Nothing distracts from the music, except maybe the fawning cocktail waitresses and a photographer selling people their own pictures. The blues is safe, and so are its patrons, who no longer have to tramp down seedy side streets to see some of the greats.

Centerstage Reviewer: David Rosenstock

Centerstage's Tips

Before the show, stop at Calypso Cafe next door in Harper Court, where you'll find both Caribbean classics and the Southern cooking Hyde Park resident Barack Obama loved so much at the now-closed Dixie Kitchen.

After the show, it's worth the long walk (or short cab ride) to Jimmy's Woodlawn Tap.

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User Reviews

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Hours

6 p.m.-2 a.m. daily; live music after 9:30 p.m.

Directions to Checkerboard Lounge

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Checkerboard Lounge was mentioned in these articles...

Soul and the City, 9/8/09
Take a tour of Chicago's soulful eateries, churches and music clubs.

Blues Clues, 4/17/09
We pick the best Chicago blues clubs for every occasion.

Gettin' Jazzy With It, 4/12/09
We pick the best Chicago jazz clubs for every occasion.

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