Smile Politely

Embassy Tavern Keeps Music Alive in Downtown Urbana; Cara Maurizi Performs Tonight

Sleepy downtown Urbana is a diamond in the rough around these parts. The fact that you can always get a table at Crane Alley or squeeze into the Iron Post for a jazz show may be troubling to the owners of the joints at times, but to consumers, it leaves a lasting impression; these are places where everybody might literally know your name if you give them your time (and money).

Not much changes in downtown Urbana, at least compared to the gentrification that is currently sweeping through Champaign. Restaurants close, and sometimes open, but generally, nothing major transpires.

So, when the Embassy Tavern decided to start featuring live music all week, no one much batted an eye, initially. The new owners, however, have persevered. And now, you can find live entertainment tucked into a corner that should be too small to present anyone, yet somehow, they make it happen each week.

Tonight, you can catch Cara Maurizi, a local singer whose jazz stylings are so comforting that you’d think you’d been whisked back to 1936, just three years after Prohibition was repealed and the year that Embassy Tavern opened its doors.

Her songs aren’t anything groundbreaking, and that’s all right by me — I don’t need to be listening to the newest revolution in music on a Monday night with a pint of suds. Her voice is refreshing enough to keep folks interested for more than just a song and with a show on a night like this — meaning on a Monday when the students have just left — she will need all the bodies possible to make it worth her while.

The Embassy Tavern is located 114 S Race St in downtown Urbana.

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