Jazzzology's Chicago Music Venue of the Month-March 2010-Salute Wine Bar and Cafe


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This is the first in a new JAZZzology blog feature known as “JAZZzology's Chicago Music Venue of the Month". We begin with one of the Chicago Gold Coast's coziest and most authentic Italian bistros (or “sliver bar" as I call it due to the long narrow nature of the room), Salute Wine Bar & Caf located at 46 E. Superior St. Chicago, IL...

Salute has teamed up with 90.9 FM WDCB Public Radio for its live Jazz Wednesdays. I was there to see the Jose Valdes Duo featuring Dez Desormeaux on sax and flute with Jose on piano, as usual these musicians never dissapoint playing tunes such as “Giant Steps" to music from the Carlos Jobim songbook. I was completely taken in by the very comfortable set of surroundings that made it very conducive to an intimate evening of jazz and great food. Being winter in Chicago, it was great to walk into a street-level small and cozy atmosphere of good food smells, friendly staff, many readied bottles of vino and great jazz. As one opens the large heavy door you are greeted by a smiling member of the staff that makes you feel at ease right away and directs you to the back of the place to hang your coat. Just to the right is a seating arrangement of a coffee table surrounded by a leather couch and a couple of tuxedo style chairs. There is also a very romantic window seat in the bay window of the front of the place just large enough for two. Nuances of Italian culture and styles are evident in little knick-knacks placed throughout.

A small “standing room only" bar is towards the front of the room with several tables filling out the rest of the restaurant area. Black and white photographs of Italian scenes and people decorate the walls reminiscent to me of the post WWII era in Italy of the 1950s (the restrooms are decorated with posters form Italian movies and photos of their movie stars). The menu offers a very select array of Italian wines, cheeses and entrees. I had a chance to try the cheese sampler which was fantastic and I would highly recommend to anyone wanting to compliment their choice of wine once that has been secured from the waitstaff.

The only thing that detracts occasionally from the coziness of the room is if you happen to be seated near the front of the cafe when the front door is opened, as quite a bit of wintry air rushes in, but I readily discovered even this momentary distraction from the ambiance made one feel that it was good to be inside Salute sipping on one's favorite Italian wine while enjoying the music of an intimate evening of jazz. Salute gets a JAZZzology Jazz Music Venue Rating of 5 out of a possible 5 stars!!!

Here is the official description of the Wednesday night jazz scene at Salute: “Salute Wine Bar & Cafe invites Chicagoans to liven up and let loose with a night of live jazz music and half-priced signature pizzas which include Margherita, Speck and Arugula, Spinach and Ricotta, Cotecchino Sausage, Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms. The bistro and 90.9 FM, Chicago's premier jazz radio station, showcases a variety of musicians from 7 to 10 p.m. Check their on-line calendar or give them a call to get info on

ABOUT SALUTE WINE BAR & CAF An authentic Italian wine bar and bistro located in the historically rehabbed Hennessy House in the Gold Coast neighborhood. The intimate spot offers patrons an approachable Italian wine menu representing 20 regions of local varietals and an Italian comfort food lunch and dinner menu. Open Sunday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Patio and sidewalk seating available. Private party packages and space available. Accepts all major credit cards. Valet ($9) and street parking available. Now on Open Table. For additional information please visit salutewinebars.com or call 312.664.0100.

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This story appears courtesy of JAZZzology by Richard Watters .
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