Hi-Hat Barbeque


The Hi-Hat Barbeque, a spot that was originally known for having the best BBQ chicken in town, also became busiest jazz club at the busiest jazz corner in the city between 1948 and 1955.  First opened in 1937, the Hi-Hat was a white-owned club in a black neighborhood, playing dine-and-dance type music to an exclusively white audience. With a scarlet awning, red carpet, and a tuxedo-wearing doorman outside, it was called “America’s Smartest Barbeque”. Things finally changed in 1948, when owner Julie that neighboring joints, like The Savoy and Wally’s, were attracting crowds with jazz and Dixieland bands. He hired the popular Sabby Lewis and his band, and opened up the club to both white and black patrons. The Hi-Hat continued to act like the elegant nightclubs over in Bay Village, but with headliners like Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk, Charlie Parker, Sarah Vaughan, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, BB King and many, many more. The Hi-Hat closed in 1955 after a devastating fire. For more information about the Hi-Hat, see The Boston Jazz Chronicles, by Richard Vacca.