The Big Easy

The new Petaluma venue is jazzing up the town's live-music scene.

Pamela Rose performs with Wayne De La Cruz at The Big Easy bar and nightclub in Petaluma. (photo by Jeremy Portje)

A new venue is jazzing up Petaluma’s live-music scene, showcasing jazz and blues bands almost every night.

Located across the alley from Speakeasy Bistro (its sister establishment), The Big Easy isn’t, well, easy to spot. Its sign is nearly invisible, and the club’s interior is hidden from the view of passers-by. Even the building’s dungeon façade (it previously housed a fetish shop) is unlikely to attract much attention after dark. It’s all part of the Prohibition-era vibe: low ceilings, dim lighting and a cave-like, underground feel.

The venue features Bay Area brews on tap, local wines and a menu of tapas and small-plate fare from Speakeasy. The club’s main attraction, however, is the music, which ranges from gypsy jazz to blues. Recent acts have included southern soul artist Eric Lindell and jazz organist Wayne De La Cruz.

The club also boasts a 1957 Hammond B-3 organ, a favorite model of jazz musicians. “The only other club I know of locally that has one is the Boom Boom Room in San Francisco,” Big Easy owner Roger Tschann said.

Opening a music venue was a natural step for Tschann; in the early 1990s, he founded Grizzly Studios in Petaluma and has recorded thousands of CDs for North Bay bands.

“I’ve always wanted to have a cool little club like this,” he said, “where local and not-so-local musicians can showcase their talents.”