I was in the mood to hear some live jazz and clicked over to the WRTI website to see if they had a link to local jazz events. I found a link that led me to not just one but three venues that night! Two of the bands were in Center City and one was a musician in a tavern in Chestnut Hill — “Reverend Chris on the Piano”. The website stated “it’s New Orleans Piano Night in Philadelphia; Solo piano, swing, boogie, blues and much much more.” Being a marathon consumer of HBO’s hit show “Treme” about Katrina and NOLA, the chance to hear that kind of jazz in person on demand was very lucky. I called the restaurant and someone said “Yes, he is playing and usually performs until 11pm”. Excited!
Friday nights this January have been snowy and cold and so it was again. We approached the building, spotting a red waving flag under the streetlight — at the top of the cobblestone street in Philadelphia’s charming Chestnut Hill section.
Walking into the narrow, dark tavern we penetrated a dense crowd of patrons. Seats were being shuffled at the front of the bar, with someone saying “Take our seats”, pointing to the back. He introduced himself to us as Nick and we had a fun chat with him about the neighborhood. We discussed our blog and our previous discoveries in the Hill area. Nick, a local patron, set us up with perfect seats in the corner with a view of the dining room, Reverend Chris and his piano and the bar.
A landmark of the neighborhood, I remembered that I had lunched here a few years ago. Outside above the front door, there is a real pineapple mounted to the building which is a symbol of friendship and hospitality. The restaurant is small and romantic with beadboard and floral wallpaper on the walls, and dark wood everywhere — tables, carved moldings, a tin ceiling and an elaborately decorated bar. Fresh greens were on the tabletops.
Please press play (Music: “The Treme Song” by John Boutté and by “I Wanna Be The Big Chief” piano by Reverend Chris, from Reverend Chris and the High Rollers Viper Mad)
The lovely bartender served us our mocktails and cocktails and we waited to finally hear the mix of NOLA and blues music. We thought we arrived during a break, but we were so disappointed when we realized Reverend Chris looked like he was saying goodnight to some fans. “Uh-oh. Noooo.” When I asked Reverend Chris he confirmed it, but he generously gave us two CDs! He is quite funny! We chatted with him a bit and planned to return because he is a constant provider of fine music here on Friday nights. Just next time we will get there way before 10PM! Thanks Reverend Chris!
Friday Jan. 30, 2015
Tavern On the Hill
Address: 8636 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118
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