The sounds are cool but the scene is cozy at M Lounge on South Wabash. For the past six years, this chic and intimate space has served as a midweek oasis for music-loving South Loopers. The club hosts solid local talent in a variety of flavors, from straight-ahead jazz to bossa nova, every Tuesday and Wednesday from 7pm to 10pm, with no cover charge and a two-drink minimum. It’s a bargain, made even sweeter by the comfy seating, well-stocked bar and civilized, attitude-free atmosphere, where newcomers quickly feel at home. Owner Reginald Marsh named the club in honor of his wife MaryAnn, who encouraged Marsh to quit his press-secretary gig and pursue his martini-mixing dream. “When we settled in the South Loop, there wasn’t a lot of entertainment infrastructure,” says Marsh. “I wanted something that was the opposite of every bar I hate–a place that takes care of customers and feels like a living room.” And so it is. On a recent evening, with the fine Chris Davis Jazztet playing to a clued-in and respectful crowd, the vibe was laid-back, upbeat and just right.
1520 South Wabash
Best of Chicago 2011