Owned by Paul Myers, the Aqua Lounge was the heart of “the Strip” during the 1960s and ’70s. The first jazz club on the Strip, the Aqua Lounge played host to jazz and blues greats, including Roy Ayers, Jimmy Smith, Dave Burrell, Bootsie Barnes, Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan and Irene Reid.
In an interview with the University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences’ West Philadelphia Music Project, jazz drummer Lucky Thompson shared his memories of the Aqua Lounge:
And right along 52nd street, there was a club called the Aqua Lounge, it used to bring a lot of famous musicians through there, like Miles, Max [unclear], and I mean they would come out and stand in one of the corners smoking a cigarette, and Philly Joe Jones, and umm, a lot of Shirley Scott, a lot of famous musicians. Called the Aqua Lounge. That was one of the clubs known for being on the strip.