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© The Chicago Bar Project   Written by Sean Parnell
Florence's Lounge & Liquors
5443 S. Shields Ave. (5500S, 350W)
Chicago, IL 60609
R.I.P.

Unlike the more popular Theresa's Lounge, not much is remembered about Florence's Lounge & Liquors, located on Chicago's South Side. However, we do know that the blues was featured there while it operated in the 1960s, as was Magic Slim. Slim played in Hound Dog Taylor's house band at that time, which has been described as a South Side blues staple, and the band even released an LP entitled: Hound Dog Taylor & The Houserockers: Live at Florence's. Hound Dog Taylor passed in 1975. Florence featured the blues on Sunday afternoons, from 3pm until 8pm, and the lounge was open Sunday through Friday, from 7am until 2am and 3am on Saturdays.

"I only went there once, on a Sunday afternoon. The place was jammed with folks in their Sunday best, someone tried to pick up my girlfriend, and the pigs feet sandwiches sold outside could be eaten inside the club. I'm pretty sure we heard Magic Slim and the Teardrops. Two small notes: I'm also pretty sure that the music began much earlier than three, and I'm positive I visited in the early 80's, probably '83 or '84."

– K.W. (May 18, 2009)

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"He [Hound Dog Taylor] mentioned that he was playing at a place called Florence's Lounge on the South Side. It was a Sunday afternoon gig and nobody else had a gig on Sunday afternoon that I knew of. I went down there around February and my whole concept of Hound Dog Taylor got turned around. I saw him in a band with Brewer Philips on second guitar and Ted Harvey on drums, with their equipment on the floor, no bandstand–they moved a table out of the bar. They played for three hours straight. People were dancing in the aisles and on the seats and lots of people were sitting in. Lots of people were really drunk and they were shooting dice outside and the energy level was fantastic. Everybody knew Hound Dog and the music was totally raw and absolutely infectious. That's when I reassessed Hound Dog Taylor."

– excerpt from the Bruce Iglauer interview by Jason Gross (June 1998)

Hound Dog Taylor
(1915 – 1975)
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