hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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May 29, 2014

Downtown music scene focuses on Chit Chat, the Tap

When you are looking for live music in the city, two places that regularly feature live acts are the Chit Chat Lounge, which often features nationally-known acts, as well as the Tap Restaurant, which also bring in bands from time to time.

The Chit Chat has been a music mecca for years, serving as a popular venue for musical artists looking to build a following, as well as those who are already well known in the industry.

Owner Steve Doherty says his club offers a quality sound system, a sound technician to make the music sound as smooth and as sweet as possible, along with excellent acoustics augmented by strategically placed sound absorbing panels. Live jazz is featured on Sundays starting at 6 p.m. and features an ever-changing lineup of what Doherty says is “great jazz” by performers who have a passion for music.

“With a capacity of just 85 people, musicians feel like they’re playing to a packed room,” he said. “Everyone likes to play to a full house.”

Tuesday is open mic night for musicians, which Doherty says has been a launching pad for many artists over the years.

Wednesday night at the Chit Chat features karaoke starting at 9 p.m.

“Some of the people who sing are really good,” Doherty said. “And even if you’re not that good, everyone cheers. There are no bad singers.”

Thursday is DJ night and dancing, while Friday and Saturdays feature live bands starting between 9 and 9:30 p.m. The music is mostly rock and roll, but sometimes it’s bluegrass and reggae with a rock twist. You might even find some folk and country mixed in.

“By offering a variety of musical styles, the Chit Chat offers something for everyone,” said Doherty, whose wife Debra manages the business.

Recently, the Chit Chat expanded with the addition of Phoenix, a gay and lesbian lounge that opened on the second floor. It’s small, and also has a capacity of only 85 people, and since it opened April 18 it’s become the place to go.

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