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Pepper’s Lounge

503 E 43rd St.

Johnny Peppers opened Pepper’s Lounge in 1956 and for 15 years, this was Bronzeville’s hot spot for blues. The stage was small, but it hosted such giants as Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Otis Rush and Magic Sam. Along with providing stellar music, Pepper’s helped reinforce a sense of community, and not just because of the bonds among its attendees from the South Side. Muddy Waters was known to walk to the club, as he lived less than a mile away. Another featured performer, Junior Wells, recorded part of his 1966 album, It’s My Life, Baby, at Pepper’s and his band featured guitarist Buddy Guy. That album’s producer Samuel Charters stated the idea was to transform the energy from Wells’ interactions with this South Side audience to vinyl. In 1971, the club moved to S. Michigan Avenue. Years after Pepper’s closed, it endured across musical memories, including jazz composer Muhal Richard Abrams who released “Down At Peppers” in 1985.

– A.C. 

Caption: Former location of Pepper's Lounge 

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