CHICAGO (CBS) — University of Chicago students who have outgrown the frat party scene have been complaining about the dearth of nightlife in Hyde Park for decades.
But they will soon have one more option besides taking a seat at the long bar at Jimmy’s Woodlawn Tap.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports a new eclectic music club will soon open in the old Borders bookstore building at 1539 E. 53rd St. – across from the Hyde Park Bank building. The old Borders building was purchased by the U of C in July.
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The new restaurant, bar and concert venue will be known as the Promontory. It takes its name from the iconic Promontory Point – a manmade peninsula that juts out into Lake Michigan alongside the Hyde Park neighborhood.
The Promontory is the brainchild of Bruce Finkelman – the owner of the iconic Empty Bottle at 1035 N. Western Ave., the Longman & Eagle tavern at 2657 N. Kedzie Ave. in Logan Square, and the Beauty Bar at 1444 W. Chicago Ave. – and Craig Golden – Finkelman’s partner on Longman & Eagle, and also the man behind Union pizzeria and SPACE music club, at 1245 Chicago Ave. in Evanston.
The Promontory will feature a “hearth-driven” kitchen headed by chef/partner Jared Wentworth, whose work at Longman & Eagle garnered a Michelin Star two years in a row.
A decade ago, U of C students and Hyde Park denizens in search of live music were limited to U of C sponsored events; Sunday night jazz nights at Jimmy’s, 1172 E. 55th St.
It was hardly uncommon to hear longtime Hyde Park residents mourn the bulldozing of a community of jazz clubs that thrived on 55th Street, which featured names like the Beehive Lounge and the Cadillac Lounge, and hosted icons from Charlie Parker to Thelonius Monk. The clubs all came down in the 1950s as part of a U of C-sponsored urban renewal project.
But in recent years, live music has begun to thrive again in Hyde Park, particularly since the Checkerboard Lounge blues club moved in 2003 from its longtime location on 43rd Street in Bronzeville to 5201 S. Harper Ave. Other nightlife options have also appeared from a Bar Louie to a Seven Ten bar and bowling alley.
The Borders bookstore that used to occupy the building closed in March of last year, a few months before the entire company went out of business.
The Chicago Sun-Times contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.