The Official S. Joel Norman Website


Once a month…

The Zebra Lounge


Tack Room at Thalia Hall

Dueling Pianos at Hard Rock Cafe

Hard Rock Cafe



The first leg of the S. Joel Norman Midwest Fall Tour, with a new lineup, new music, and new haircut.

Is there a place you live, but don’t see it on the list? Send us a message or hit us up on twitter or Instagram. @sjoelnorman

Sept 24, HIFI, Indianapolis, IN

Info and Tickets

Sept 30, Frankie’s Blue Room, Naperville, IL


Oct 7, The Pink Piano, Crown Point, IN

Info, free show!

Nov 18, Reggies, Chicago, IL


TBD, The Livery, Benton Harbor, MI


“I’m a drinking expert.”

What is it about bars? I don’t know. The smell, the dark wood, the escape — I love it. I heard once that Chicago has more bars per capita than like anywhere or something and I liked that fact so I never checked to see if it was right. Either way, there’s a lot to choose from. Here are my top picks.

5. Bullhead Cantina – California and Division

Located around the corner from my old digs, this Humboldt Park gem shines like a pristine scratch ticket on a Wednesday afternoon. It’s got a friendly staff, whiskey-oriented bar, and the NO BULLSH!T special: a shot of whiskey, a tallboy, and a designer taco of your choice for $6. Try the grits & kale, it’s the best one on the menu. Cash only.

4. RichardsMilwaukee and Grand

This place is my El ticket to Happytown. It’s a classic Chicago dive. It’s got hilarious regulars who they should have casted for Chicago Fire. It’s got some fantastic art on the walls, the jukebox is solid, and for some reason you can still smoke cigarettes inside, which is pretty rock and roll. If memory serves, they’ve got a 14” tube TV you can catch the Sox on.

3. BeetleChicago and Maplewood

Big windows, open spaces, and high ceilings make this place a breathe-easy environment. It must encourage people meeting and having conversations, because I’ve had primo chats with random Uke Villagers. Family-friendly with a good kitchen and fully stocked bar with solid rotating specials. I even took the Viking Queen here on our first date.

2. Zebra LoungeState and Division

This piano bar is tucked between some of the wealthiest parts and some of the most brotastic bars in all of Chicago. It’s in the bottom of a month-to-month apartment building. It is a freak beacon. From Boogie hounds to friendly shemales, woolly parties, schizophrenics, sassy bartenders, bored trophy wives, and rabid investors. Celebrity appearances have included Bill Murray (tequila), Dave Chappelle (Heineken), and Jeremy Roenick (Bud Light). It’s where I cut my teeth. I call it Hogwarts.

1. Floyd’sArmitage and Oakley

Situated in a Schlitz Brewery-Tied House built in 1898, this Bucktown staple boasts the mantra, “Come for the food, stay and get drunk.” The food is certainly great (if there is a food special, get it). The bar is assuredly full (if there is a cocktail special, get it). Darts, killer soundtrack, and a great place to watch Cutler loft an interception. It’s where my cronies and I hatch our most dastardly schemes, and where I don’t remember leaving the most.

Honorable Mention: Wyler Road – Central Park and Belden

Creative combinations of booze and food served by beautiful tattooed people tucked away on a quiet corner of Logan Square. A nice back patio for when you and your friends want to melt into a cocktail. Bartenders know some good jokes as well. Would have made the list, but Wyler needs a few more reps to prove herself.

Welcome to the new site. Glad you could stop in. I’d like to let you in on a few great things that are happening this year.

1) There will be new music.

Yes, that’s right, the rock and roll will continue. Some of it will sound pretty familiar, some of it will be unlike anything you’ve ever heard from us before. Keep a sharp eye. I will always post teasers and trailers here as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. @sjoelnorman

2) There will be a new show.

The stage show is going to get many improvements in 2016. A few new folks, a few new tunes, a brand new experience. We also will start taking it on the road, so no matter where you are in the wide world you might be close to a future SJN show. Come see the new spectacle. I will always post show announcements here as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. @sjoelnorman

3) There will be new swag.

All kinds of new merch will be available for your consumption, including albums, EPs, vinyls, rare tee shirts, limited edition posters, and original artwork. There will also be free swag. I will always post them both here as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. @sjoelnorman

4) There will be a place for you.

I want you to know that everyone is welcome to rock with our crew of miscreants. Race, creed, color, or shape — all are welcome. You are free to love, free to dance, free to find freedom in the musical experience. If you hate, I would hope that you could come to a show and find love, and then stop hating. And if you do find love, you should post it both here as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. @sjoelnorman

If you ever want to chat, shoot me an email.

I’d like to thank Dan Vos for the nifty site design and Kevin Bruinsma for the kine art. Here’s to a great 2016.


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  • Post show shenanigans with @karilynchmusic and @itsallhype at @uncommongrd #acapella #angel
  • I've got some brand new, hand screened trucker hats for your consumption. Limited edition! $15, link in bio.
  • Happy Birthday to my sweet, bad ass, future wife and Viking Queen. #rideordie
  • Beautiful day in the old hood #frisbee #fall
  • Secret cabin with the Viking Queen
Link in bio.
#midwest #music #rockandroll #soul #gospel