Davenport’s Piano Bar & Cabaret (Bar, Wicker Park)
Davenport’s is a fabulous spot just off the main six corners intersection of Wicker Park. It’s become one of my favorite bars in the neighborhood, though it’s not always the busiest or craziest. What it does promise is a friendly crowd, good service, and even better entertainment.
From the outside it looks a little shabby — with a funny little bright-colored sign that looks a few decades old. But walk inside and you’ll find a comfortable bar with good music. What more could you want? The front of Davenport’s is a smallish bar with free-standing tables, bar stools, and some cushy, cozy spots along the walls. Of course, in the center of the room stands a big black shiny piano. And trust me, that sucker isn’t just for decoration. The talented folks who take the “stage” at Davenport’s range from open mic participants to professional singers to the staff! Yep, the Davenport’s staff doesn’t just pour a great brew, but can belt a mean tune, too. The front piano bar doesn’t have a cover — except on Fridays and Saturdays starting at 10pm, but don’t worry, it’s only $2.
The separate space in the back is used primarily for the cabaret shows Davenport’s hosts. These shows are pricier (usually around $18-20) but worth the cover charge. Among shows that have run in the Cabaret are “Life for Dummies… like me!”, “Confessions of a Prairie Bitch”, and “Friends for All Seasons.”
As you might have guessed by the names, several of the shows at Davenport’s aren’t just musical genius, but also full of comedy. One of my favorite shows is “Smith & Grimm”, a comedic singing, dancing, piano- and trombone-playing duo who appear weekly in the front bar. They perform originals, showtunes and old classics with a little twist. A raunchy, hilarious, sometimes highly inappropriate twist. Add a little audience participation, some improv, and you’ve secured yourself a memorable night in Wicker Park.
The front bar also hosts open mics (and sometimes singalongs!) on Sundays and Mondays, so check out the website for more on that. Tuesday nights are reserved for private parties.
On the piano bar spectrum, Davenport’s sits at the opposite end of Slugger’s and Howl at the Moon. So, if you’re sick of the same old Wicker Park scene, check out Davenport’s. It’s always a friendly crowd and a fun time.