Ortlieb’s Jazzhaus in Northern Liberties, which had been ground zero of Philadelphia’s thriving jazz scene, will reopen Tuesday as Ortlieb’s Lounge.
It will look the same, but sound different.
Tuesday nights will feature a jazz jam booked by Ortlieb’s original owner of Ortlieb’s, Peter Souders, but the rest of the week will feature funk, soul, rock, and blues.
“We all enjoyed Jazzhaus when Pete Souders had it,” said co-owner Mark Fichera. “Out of respect for him, we changed the name. We didn’t want people to think it’s going to be the same place. We can’t do as good a job as he did.”
Since Souders ran the joint, the kitchen had been expanded and upgraded, and will be serving Tex-Mex bar food. The long, narrow interior will remain mostly as it was, with red booths, a red ceiling, and darkly stained wood-paneled walls. It will seat 65.
“Because it’s such a small place, it’s so intimate, you felt like you were together with the people you were with, and part of the musicians,” said co-owner Avrim Hornik. “Just a feeling of being in something, rather than observing it. That’s part of the intimacy of the space.”
An enormous head of an African water buffalo, which used to loom over the stage, has been retained and installed near the kitchen.
Although it will sound different, it might sound better — Hornik says much of the renovation costs went to upgrading the sound system.