Buddy Guy’s Legends is proud and happy to announce that the doors to its highly-anticipated new location will open on Friday, May 28, 2010 at 8:00PM.
June 2010 will serve as a month-long grand opening celebration for the club’s new incarnation at 700 South Wabash Avenue in the South Loop. An official grand opening party is scheduled for Tuesday, June 15, flanked by an almost week-long Blues Festival schedule kicking off Wednesday, June 9 and a 3-day lead-in to Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival starting Thursday, June 24.
The move to a new location has been an ongoing process since 1999 when the building Buddy Guy’s Legends has been leasing for the last 20 years was anonymously donated to Columbia College. After an exhaustive search, the opportunity to purchase the building at 700 South Wabash presented itself. Mr. Guy is now the sole owner and proprietor of the building and the club will occupy all 16,000 square feet on two floors.
ABOUT 700 SOUTH WABASH AVENUE.
The 700 S. Wabash site has been home to many different tenants in the past, many of them in the Arts. In 1903, well before the current structure was built, the site was home to the International Theater. The current building was constructed in 1923 which housed the Williams Restaurant and Lounge, which was in operation when Mr. Guy first came to Chicago in 1957. The upper floor was used as a Masonic Lodge, hence the square and compass emblem on the limestone panel on the Wabash façade. Most recently, the building housed an art supply store, a FedEx Kinkos and the Hot House, which was also a live music venue on the second floor.
Mr. Guy had only a few, but critical, requirements for the new club. First and foremost, the main stage had to be on the first floor with a corner entry; he wanted a first-class kitchen to better serve and expand the Southern-inspired menu (installed and furnished by National Restaurant Design + Herzog Store Fixture Co.); he wanted the décor at the new location to be the same as the original with blue walls and a checkerboard-patterned floor; and he didn’t want it to look overly polished. “A blues club is kind of old and funky,” he repeated in the early meetings with architect Edward Twohey from Burns+Beyerl Architects and general contractor Tino Calderon of Deeke Construction. Mr. Guy even threatened to burn a grill full of hickory logs for a week to get the place properly smoked up.
Expect a few upgrades, though: the stage is larger and able to accommodate a larger band; two large bars now flank the stage in the rectangular room, creating clear sightlines from anywhere on the floor; and a brand new state-of-the-art sound system has been designed and installed by Gand Music & Sound. The capacity on the first floor is slightly higher than the original club at 500 and 140 more fans will be able to go to the second floor.
The second floor features another bar with three pool tables and an adjacent room available to rent for private events. Entertainment from the first floor can stream live in high definition on any of the flat screen televisions on the second floor. Live acoustic entertainment can also be featured on this floor on a moveable stage.
More wall space throughout the club also means more memorabilia can hang on the walls, showcasing more of Buddy’s personal museum-like collection. The bar tops will include a large assortment of memorabilia that has been set in resin featuring rare photographs of blues legends such as Bo Diddley, B.B. King, Little Walter and more.
ABOUT BUDDY GUY’S LEGENDS.
Buddy Guy’s Legends first opened its doors on June 9, 1989 after Guy’s set at the Chicago Blues Festival. At the end of his set, Guy invited the crowd to come to his new “home of the blues”. Since then it has become a mecca for blues lovers the world over as well as to many of Guy’s close and personal friends. Countless famous musicians have graced the stage including Eric Clapton, David Bowie, Junior Wells and B.B. King, among others. Buddy Guy’s Legends books live music seven nights a week as well as during lunch Mondays through Fridays.
ABOUT BUDDY GUY.
Buddy Guy arrived in Chicago in September of 1957 and has since become an international symbol of the Chicago blues sound. From his humble beginnings at the famed 708 Club in the ‘50s and ‘60s to his 5 Grammy Awards and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2005, Guy has kept his promise to the city of Chicago to keep the blues alive. While he is known to have mentored some of the best – Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix – Guy has worked tirelessly to keep the world’s eyes on Chicago’s musical heritage. Guy spent his life savings opening up Buddy Guy’s Legends in the South Loop in 1989. Though times were tough for many years at the beginning, Guy’s popularity boomed in the ‘90s and consequently, so did the club’s. Guy prides himself on being hands-on with the club’s operations and makes it a point to come every night he is in town to shake hands with and get to know his customers. He has also done his part to help the city of Chicago with its 2012 bid for the Olympics, performing with the late Koko Taylor in front of International Olympic Committee. Guy also narrates the city’s walking tour of Chicago’s blues sites, which can be downloaded free of charge on their web site. Guy continues to act as an ambassador to the city of Chicago and its famed blues history to make certain the genre does not disappear. As for retirement, Guy has this to say: “Blues performers don’t retire. They drop. I’m not going to retire.”