Alhambra Palace

Heat and humidity hung in the air last Friday night as group after group exited their taxis at 1241 W. Randolph St. to see the Latin-inspired sounds of Johnny Bandolero performing live at the extravagant Alhambra Palace.

"Palace" was no exaggeration, as upon entering this exotic establishment I was engulfed in its centuries-old inspired decor; with walls, floors, and ceilings exquisitely designed and constructed down to the last detail. For a moment or two I felt as if I was in a sacred Persian museum, not a restaurant on Chicago's west side.

From the intricate tiles on the floor to the sculptured fireplaces, Alhambra dazzles its visitors with significant Persian designs that capture one's imagination with monumental interior furnishings that overflow a person's five senses.

A trickling saphire blue waterfall accompanied a flamboyant staircase which led guests up to a 2nd floor semi-circle shaped dining area, overlooking the main floor with a clear view of a musical stage. Table after table of well satisfied customers nibbled on Persian culinary cuisine, while out of view (on the 2nd floor) was a large room with its very own bar where salsa dance lessons were in progress.

The high energy, pulsating sounds of rock and rhumba filled the airwaves as Johnny Bandolero took to the stage for a late night show complete with expressive vocals and poignant, rhythmic guitar playing. Accompanying Johnny Bandolero were the sparkling international pop sounds of "Vagando" and "Read My Hips" contributed to the evening's entertainment with American-Tribal dance routines, including lavish costumes and body painting.

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