(The) Blue Note

56 W. Madison St.

According to Dan Caine, writing for The Chicago Reader, “The original Blue Note was a well-lighted room, the size of three Loop storefronts combined. Once through the door, you stood in a large, flat area, which narrowed into an aisle past the men’s room, a checkroom, and the staff dressing room, which was adjacent to a theater around the corner on Clark. On the north end, a cash bar and checking stations were located in front of the main service bar, and a right turn brought you to the standing-room area in the far northeast corner, in front of an open bar with its “bitch kitty” for waitresses. The club had 488 seats; on crowded nights, standing room brought the capacity to about 500. The bandstand was located on the south end of the room on the Madison Street side, behind you as you entered, and stood about hip high from floor level, faced by rows of small tables in front, with booths lined up along the small aisles to the right. Quasi-abstract musical notation on the walls behind the bandstand and around the room’s perimeter served as decoration.”

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