We take our cues from the song Barrel House Flat, written and recorded by Mary Johnson,
The time period in which it was released, the great depression Its story, its music, its whiskey, beer, wine and women,
The Barrelhouse Flat, where it all resides and the patrons who come through its doors and get their share, sometimes too much of a share of all that the “The Barrelhouse Flat” has to offer.
We can think of the building itself as having a continuing history encompassing this slice of Chicago and American cultural history.
The shape of the interior, reminiscent of a shot gun shack, speaks to the nature of The Barrelhouse Flat, the public room downstairs and the upstairs, mysterious, adventurous, illicit.
Those distant days, although hard, violent and desperate, have now acquired a nostalgic patina.
It is our shared history, seemingly genetically imprinted, willed to us by our parents and grandparents. It calls to us and makes the experience both unexpected and fresh, yet at the same time familiar.