Nobody is gonna answer the phone if you call during the day. The shutters will be closed if you walk by before the appointed hour. HR-57 doesn't go out of its way to pull you inside, but maybe that's the point: You have to sort of know. And it's worth knowing, especially if you're into jazz. (Or if you're looking to impress a date with pseudo-sophistication.) This nonprofit jazz house is the antithesis of those haughty table-service-type places. Low couches, shabby chairs and not a waitress in sight. At the front, a set of musicians makes you feel like you found a wormhole to a different city, a different decade. Someplace cooler, a time with more verve.
On Wednesdays and Thursdays, musicians from around town and beyond show up for jam sessions. On Fridays and Saturdays, the club, named for a congressional resolution designating jazz a "rare and valuable national American treasure," plays host to polished quartets.
Tip: HR-57 is BYOB. So bring a bottle of whatever, but plan on paying a $3 corking fee per person. The staff will sell you wine and beer by the glass if you forget your own.
-- Ellen McCarthy (January 25, 2008)