Please see our Upcoming Events listed in the right sidebar and full calendar here.    Lamplighter Sessions- more info here

The Carpe has a talk-free listening room separate from its main bar-dining area. The room, noted for its great acoustics and sound system, seats 60 people comfortably but can hold 70 people who are enthralled enough by a performance that they only almost forget that their quarters and style are seriously cramped.

Due to the dearth of good small performance spaces, the Carpe has attracted people on the singer-songwriter circuit, and gained a national reputation among songwriters as a decent venue with good sound and wonderful attentive audiences. To date, our lobbying efforts for a mandatory audience have failed– come and enjoy the solitude as you listen to amazing talent with 2 to 15 others, or enjoy the show with more people than can reasonably fit, or anything in between.


Shows are primarily on weekend nights, and there is a cover charge for all performances except the periodic open stages. Reservations (920-563-9391) are recommended for all shows to help us plan for an evening.

In cases when we are reaching capacity, reservations will be held until 15 minutes before showtime.  A bird who shows up and is willing to pay is worth two on paper.  Please contact us if you do not intend to come, or may be late, or can’t use all the tickets you have reserved or paid for in advance.

****Advance tickets are sold for those shows which experience demonstrates are likely to sell out. The show’s event page will indicate that.  You will be able to buy tickets right from that page.  There is a small booking fee to cover the costs of that convenience. Upon arrival, provide the name under which the tickets were purchased in order to claim your assigned seat. Sending checks or paying in person in advance are options, but call to reserve the seats first.

We do not have a box office or even an office, really. Someone answering the phone may be serving customers when you call.  Please forgive the inability to answer a lot of questions at busy times, and consider calling back later.

For weather and other reasons, shows are occasionally cancelled.  There is the occasional sellout.  Do not drive from Chicago (or any other location, in case you read literally) without calling first to see if the show you wish to attend is already sold out, or has been cancelled.

Carpecast- our live-streaming name

Any livestream shows will be on our calendar, with a special link to the live event.

The place to access already-streamed shows is the Cafe Carpe (Carpecast) YouTube channel, to which you should subscribe. Subscribing means you have the option (via Notification settings) to receive instant updates whenever new content from the Carpe appears.

We will indicate on the show’s event page whether an in-person show will be live-streamed, and provide the link there.  During the closed period, considerable effort and money was invested In order to do quality live-streaming. It takes 2 people to make a quality production.  If you watch live-streams either live or after the fact, please make a donation to support the artist/s and us for the opportunity to see a show you might otherwise not have been able to access.  Please mention in the PayPal Notes section which show you are paying for so your donation will be shared appropriately. The PayPal link, also provided during the livestream, is

Weekly E-mail updates

Please sign up for our e-mail list at the bottom of this page if you wish to receive weekly updates which may or may not contain more information than is listed in the calendar.


Bill has written a treatise on this. After wading through it, if you still want to play here, contact Bill by phone (late mornings is best), or e-mail him at Existence has its vagaries. That means that e-mails may not be noticed.  Phone calls, being immediate, may help to catch the worm.  Not that Bill is a worm.

The Carpe has a good sound system with quality microphones, speakers, and monitors.

Name Droppings

While the Carpe does not have a policy restricting any kind of music, most of the performances are by singer-songwriters, since they are the majority of those who seek to be booked. Occasionally there is a bluegrass band, or a jazz combo, a play, a poetry performance, a chamber music quartet, a reading by Ursula LeGuin, a stump appearance by Carole King, or an internationally acclaimed cellist…

Among those who have appeared here in the last 35 years are Isabell Abbott,  Peter Bradley Adams, Adrian + Meredith, Jerry Alexander, Tricia Alexander, Todd Albright, Bruce Andersen, Eric Andersen, Matthew Francis Andersen, Muriel Anderson, Ryan Joseph Anderson, Andrus and the Mariners, Peter Asher, the Austin Lounge Lizards, Baba Ganouj, Perry Baird, Rachel Baiman, Sam Baker, Simon Balto, Cash Box Kings, Cathy Barton and Dave Para, Basho and Parks, Patrick Ball, Dave Batti, Ben Bedford, Robert Bell, Dan Bern, Peter & Lou Berryman, BingBong, Tony Bird, Birds of Chicago, Rachel Bissex, Paul Black, Mike Blakely, Carsie Blanton, Rory Block, Hugh Blumenfeld, Erin Bode, Boo Bradley, Ray Bonneville, LJ Booth, Roy Bookbinder, the Boston Imposters, Bryan Bowers, Yazmin Bowers, Ralston Bowles, Boulder Acoustic Society, Claude Bourbon, Boxty, Brad & Harmony, the Briar Pickers, Chuck Brodsky, Jon Brooks, Neil and Meg Browning, Jay Bullock, Katie Burns, Jonathon Byrd, the Soucie Brothers, the Brothers Quinn, Brothers Burn Mountain, Greg Brown, Pieta Brown, Katie Burns, the Buzzards, Andrew Calhoun, Luke Callen, Fred Campeau & Mitch Thomas, Kate Campbell, Bill Camplin, Savannah Camplin, Caitlin Canty, Annie and Rod Capps, Craig Cardiff, Shannon Carey, Carissa, Carolyn Carter, Peter Case, Paul Cebar, Phyllis Chapell, Chenille Sisters, the Chiara Quartet, Chicago Farmer, Slaid Cleaves, Jeremy Clyde, Michael Cockram, Steve Cohen, Cold Satellite, Wes Collins, Tracy Jane Comer, Corinne Compton, Les Compton, Mike Compton, Don Conoscenti, Special Consensus, Billy Conway, Scott Cook & Pamela Mae, J.P. Cormier, Rose Cousins, Count this Penny, Coyote Brother, David Cox, Ronny Cox, Walter Craft, Jim Craig, Vivian Craig, Joe Crookston, Dave Crossland, Paul Curreri, Curtis & Loretta, Catie Curtis, Jeremy Moses Curtis, Katie Dahl, the Danberrys, Matthew Davies, Glenn Davis, Rachael Davis, Ben de la Cour, Bianca De Leon, Sims Delaney-Pothoff, Maggie Delaney-Pothoff, Kris Delmhorst, Krista Detor, Louise Dimiceli, Kitty Donohoe, Pat Donohue, Kevin Dooley, the Dorkestra, Gerald Dowd, Martin and Chris Dowling, Mike Dowling, David HB Drake, Casey Driessen, the Driftless Revelers, David James Duncan, Tom Dundee, Antje Duvekot, Mark Dvorak, Bob Dylan, Fred Eaglesmith, Stacey Earle and Mark Stuart, Cliff Eberhardt, Mare Edstrom, Kenny Edwards, Ana Egge, Kat Eggleston, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Chad Elliott, John Elliott, Vicky Emerson, Jackson Emmer, the Emmylous, Mark Erelli, John Fabke, Tim Fast, Stephen Fearing, Anne Feeney, Fendrick & Peck, Mandy Fer & Dave McGraw, Mike and Amy Finders, Ella Fitzgerald, BeJae Fleming, Marianne Flemming, Wade Fernandez, Reed Foehl, Foma, Steve Forbert, Mel Ford, Steve Ford, Stephen Foster, Jeffrey Foucault, Kaia Fowler, Kenn Fox, Michael Fraccaso, David Francey, Hannah Frank, Denice Franke, Dandy Freling, Friction Farm, Andy Friedman, Ari & Mia Friedman, Freebo, Tom Freund, Mrs. Fun, Tret Fure, Tony Furtado, Mary Gaines, Annie Gallup, Rayna Gellert, Alan Gerber, Vance Gilbert, Greg Gilbertson, Steve Gillette, Martin Gilmore, Tif Ginn, Marti Gobel, Ian George, Goldpine, Adrianne Gonzalez, David Goodrich, James Gordon, John Gorka, Tracy Grammer, Grass Food and Lodging, Meridian Green and Gene Parsons, Harmony Greenhalgh, Jan Lucas Grimm, Jackson Grimm, Tim Grimm, Judd Grossman, Matt Haimovitz, Bucky Halker, Ed Hall, Hamell on Trial, Spook Handy, Chris Hanson Band, J. Hardin, Harmonious Wail, Corey Matthew Hart, Glenn Hartman, Harpeth Rising, Reggie Harris, Rick Harris, Josh Harty, Alex Harvey, Liz Harvey, Max Hatt & Edda Glass, Christy Hays, Heartsfield, Anne Heaton, Mark Hembree, Ernie Hendrickson, Margo Hennebach, Don Henry, Her Crooked Heart, Lara Herscovitch, Eric Heywood, Phil Heywood, Anne Hills, Tish Hinojosa, Malcolm Holcombe, Cynthia Holt, Kira Hooks,  Alice Howe, Annelies Howell, Joseph Huber, David Huckfelt, Dakota Dave Hull, Humbird, Meg Hutchinson, Bill & Kate Isles, David Jacobs-Strain, Nick Jaina, Joe Jencks, Al Jewer, Michael Johnson, Prudence Johnson, Scott Jones, Pete Jonsson, Brian Joseph, Martyn Joseph, Ray Kamalay, Christine Kane, Bruce Kaplan, Lucy Kaplansky, Betsy Kaske, Chris Kasper, Tom Kastle, James Keelaghan, Paddy Keenan, The Kennedys, Jill Kessenich, Nathan Kilen, Andrew Koenig, Rachael Kilgour, Beth Kille, Bill Kitchen, Jason Klagstad, Patrick Klaybor, Dan Kleiman, Jess Klein, Sam Knutson, Audrey Knuth, Chris Kokesh, Bonnie Koloc w/Don Stille, Micky Korb, Eric Koskinen, Krause Family Band, Jan Krist, Dayna Kurtz, Sleepy LaBeef, Diana Laffey, McKain Lakey, Brianna Lane, Jon Langford, Patty Larkin, Last Acre, Gaelynn Lea, Frankie Lee, Albert Lee, Phil Lee, Adrian Legg, Shane Leonard, Howard Levy, Bernice Lewis, Tina Lie, Lilli Lewis, L’il Rev, Live Bait, Sam Llanas, Laser Lloyd, Rebeccah Loebe, Bobby Long, Long Mama, Matt Lorenz, Radoslav Lorkovic, Robbie Lorenz, Lorenz Family Band, Lost Lakes, John Louis, the Lowest Pair, Brian Lucas, Old Man Luedecke, Eric Lugosh, Luray, Julie Macarus, Macarus Family, Country Joe MacDonald, Phil Madeira, Karen Mal, Dave Mallett, Mike Mangione, Cindy Mangsen, Whitney Mann, Jan Marra, Jeffrey Martin, David Massengill, Jeff Mason, Hugh Masterson, Peter Mayer, Laurie McClain, Michael McDermott, John McEuen, Erin McKeown, Alex McMurray, Sarah McQuaid, Pamela Means, Nicki Mehta, Mike & Ruthie, Carmel Mikol, Lynn Miles, Bill Miller, Eric Miller, Jacob Miller, Marie Miller, Milwaukee Mandolin Orchestra, Buddy Mondlock, Alastair Moock, Kristin Mooney, Jay Moran, Dave Moore, Sarah Morris, Bill Morrissey, Grace Morrison, Pete Morton, Mother Banjo, Bob Mueller, Geoff Muldaur, Peter Mulvey, Larry Murante, Neal & Leandra, Lee Murdock, Zoe Muth & the Lost High Rollers, Lee Murdock, My Politic, Dan Navarro, Roxanne Neat, Dave Nelson, JT Nero, Carrie Newcomer, Brett Newski, Jon Neufeld, New Pioneers, Nickel and Rose, Carmen Nickerson, the Nields, Miles Nielsen and Dan McMahon, Huck Notari, Gerry O’Beirne, Colin O’Brien, Erin O’Brien, Patsy O’Brien, Jim Ohlschmidt, Danny O’Keefe, Old Pup, Old Sap, David Olney, Mark Olson,  Ordinary Elephant, Carey Ott, Anna p.s., Sam Pacetti, Paradise String Band, John Parrott, Gene Parsons, Mel Parsons, Bill Passalacqua, Kalyan Pathak, Ellis Paul, Patchouli, Pearl and the Beard, Gareth Pearson, Larry Penn, Grace Pettis, Pierce Pettis, Kelly Joe Phelps, Utah Phillips, Rod Picott, Jeremy Pinc, The Pines, Piper Road, Tom Pirozolli, Cris and Ann Plata, Robin Pluer, Plume Giant, Willy Porter, Chris Porterfield, Jim Post, Sarah Potenza, Potters Field, Tom Prasado-Rao, Cheryl Prashker, the Kevin Prater Band, Chris Proctor, Chris Powers, Chris Pureka, Radio Wranglers, Alex Ramsey, Benson Ramsey, Bo Ramsey, Dave Ramont, Joe Rathbone, Jerry Rasmussen, Jerry Rau, Jenn Rawling, Dave Ray, Red Tail Ring, Preston Reed, Rebecca Rego, Harvey Reid, John Renbourn and Jacquie McShee, Mustard’s Retreat, Stephen Lee Rich, Kim Richey, TR Ritchie, Scarlet Rivera, Kim Robertson, Robinson and Rohe, Lucy Wainwright Roche, Suzzy Roche, Garnet Rogers, Peter Roller, Rusty Belle, Chauntee Ross, Monique Ross, Michael Rossetto, Sparky & Rhonda Ruckers, Gary Rue, Paul Ruppa, Allison Russell, Claudia Russell, Ryanhood, Barb Ryman, Randy Sabien, Les Sampou, Paul Sanchez, Victor Sanders, Maria Sangiolo, Santa Cruz River Band, Karen Savoca & Pete Heitzman, Martha Scanlan w/ Jon Neufeld, Zander Schloss, Trapper Schoepp, Art Paul Schlosser, Ben Schmidt, Claudia Schmidt, Danny Schmidt, Jim Schwall, Katie Scullin, Dan Sebranek, Christian Sedelmeyer, Steve Seifert, Session Americana, Cosy Sheridan, Richard Shindell, Susan Shore, Shrug, Megan Slankard, Corky Siegel, John Sieger, Kim Simmonds, Dev Singh, SistaStrings, Small Potatoes, Chirps Smith, Darden Smith, Dick Smith, JohnSmith, Michael Smith, Chris Smither, Sonofmel and the Slideman, Sons of the Never Wrong, Ali Sperry, Paul Sprawl, Devon Sproule, Bill Staines, James Lee Stanley, John Stano, Garrison Starr, John Statz, Jeff Stehr,  Dean Stevens, Alpha Stewart, John Stewart, Anna Stine, David Stoddard, Strangled Darlings, Heather Styka, Suitcase Junket, Kasim Sulton, Sundae & Mr. Goessl, Jon Svetkey, Ember Swift, the Talbott Brothers, Tall Heights, Sofia Talvik, Tannahill Weavers, Eric Taylor, Louise Taylor, Awna Teixeira, Steve Tesmer, Art Thieme, Richard Paul Thomas, Lucy Thorne, Three Thin Dimes, The Thriftones, Rick Thum, The Tillers, Anna Tivel, Tony Trischka, Zak Trojano, Greg Trooper, Ernest Troost, Mark Truesdell, Susan Urban, Greg Valde, Dave Van Ronk, Anna Vogelzang, Ross Volkmann, Chris Wagoner, Pop Wagoner, Tom Waselchuk, Cam Waters, Sterling Waters, Ernie Watts, TS Webb, Paul Wehrley, Tod Weidner, Kai Welch, Satchel Paige Welch, Jason Dea West, Bob Westfall, Cheryl Wheeler, the Whiskey Belles, Andy White, Kenny White, Jerry Wicentowski, Jason Wilber, Wild Ponies, The Wildwoods, Brooks Williams, Dar Williams, Hayward Williams, Jack Williams, Robin & Linda Williams, Ted Williams, Telisha & Doug Williams (Wild Ponies), Beth Wood, Wrong Omar, Larry Unger, Uprooted Theater, The Yearlings, The Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Gabby Young, Steve Young, Tommi Zender, Natalia Zukerman, 10 String Symphony, the 442’s–  there’s more I’ve probably forgotten but I’m getting tired. And I only stretched the truth 4 times…