With the Chicago Blues Festival right around the corner, the two owners of Taylor Street Tap saw no better time to bring their dreams of opening their own blues bar to fruition. The doors to the club—which owner Brian Fadden says will play “host to the best blues talent in the city”—officially opened on May 15. A statement like that might make Fadden sound like a greenhorn business owner suffering from delusions of grandeur—this is in fact his first business—but he and co-owner Dylan MacWilliams have the resumés to make this work.
Fadden most recently worked as general manager of the Lagunitas Brewing tap room in Chicago (which books mostly blues and roots music) and before that managed one of the city’s flagship blues clubs, Buddy Guy’s Legends. His stature in the Chicago blues scene has earned him a position on the volunteer committee that (among other things) helps book the Chicago Blues Festival. MacWilliams has decades of experience in the hospitality industry on Taylor Street—his first job was at Pompei, and he spent 15 years on staff at the Rosebud. Both those Italian restaurants are within a few blocks of their new corner spot at Taylor and Loomis.
The venue itself can hold more than 100 patrons, according to Fadden, and in its first few weeks it’s already hosted the likes of Jimmy Burns, Guy King, Lurrie Bell, Jimmy Johnson, and Dave Herrero. Taylor Street Tap is committed to never charging a cover, and during Blues Fest weekend it plans on hosting aftershows—so far Fadden can confirm appearances by Herrero and Donald Kinsey, with more details still to be announced.