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Jerry Garcia-Themed Jazz Venue Could Come To West Loop’s Old Wishbone Thanks To Brooklyn Bowl Owner

The West Loop jazz club will be themed around Garcia, the legendary Grateful Dead co-founder, and will also feature an accompanying restaurant, sources say.

A Jerry Garcia-themed venue is being planned for the old Wishbone location in the West Loop.
Jerry Lender/Flickr; Wishbone/Facebook
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WEST LOOP — After rent hikes forced beloved West Loop restaurant Wishbone to relocate from its longtime home, the space could soon be turned into a lively jazz venue paying homage to Jerry Garcia, the late guitarist of the Grateful Dead.

Brooklyn Bowl owner Peter Shapiro has been in talks to bring a Jerry Garcia-themed jazz venue to the vacant restaurant space at 1001 W. Washington Blvd., according to multiple sources familiar with the project.

The West Loop venue will be themed around Garcia, who died in 1995 at age 53, and will be a seated, traditional jazz club, a source said. The venue will also feature an accompanying restaurant.

Shapiro founded jam fest Lock’n Fest and owns an intimate venue called Garcia’s inside the Capitol Theatre Port Chester, N.Y. That project is a partnership with Garcia’s estate.

Shapiro also produced the Grateful Dead reunion concerts, including three shows at Solider Field in July 2015. Garcia played his last concert in 1995, also at Soldier Field.

On Friday, Amplify magazine, a news service covering the live music industry, reported that Shapiro is working in partnership with Garcia’s estate to open “a seated jazz and jam venue in the heart of the West Loop.”

The magazine story didn’t say where the venue would be located in the booming neighborhood.

The influential neighborhood Facebook page True West Loop shared the Amplify article on its page Friday.

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Ald. Danny Solis (25th) previously told Block Club Chicago on multiple occasions that a jazz venue aimed to replace the former Wishbone restaurant. In late 2018, the now-embattled alderman called the music venue, which won’t include bowling, “a perfect fit.”

Owners also met with some nearby condo owners months ago to discuss plans for a jazz club, sources said.

For nearly 30 years, the corner of Morgan Street and Washington Boulevard was home to Wishbone restaurant and its well-known facade. But since the Nickson family relocated the restaurant last fall, rumors of its replacement have swirled through the neighborhood.

Credit: Mauricio Peña/ Block Club Chicago
The old Wishbone restaurant at 1001 W. Washington Blvd.

Owners of the venue have not yet applied for a Public Place of Amusement license, a city liquor license that is required for a business that offers amusement or entertainment with a capacity of 100 or more patrons.

Shapiro initially aimed to open a Brooklyn Bowl at 832 W. Fulton St. in 2014. But that deal later fell through, and Denver-based Punch Bowl Social opened a 28,000-square-foot restaurant, bar and bowling alley in the space instead.

Bowling and live music venue Brooklyn Bowl’s first location in Brooklyn, N.Y., opened in 2009.

Garcia’s estate did not return a request for comment.

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