Wally's Cafe was established January 1, 1947 in Boston, Massachusetts. The nightclub is located at the famed intersection of Massachusetts and Columbus Avenues. The area was once home to many of Boston's famous jazz clubs during the nineteen forties and fifties. Nightclubs with names like the High Hat, Savoy Ballroom, Chicken Lane, the Wig Wam, Big M, and Wally's Paradise played a major role introducing jazz to the New England community.
Wally's was founded by Joseph L. Walcott. Mr. Walcott was a Barbadian who immigrated to America in 1910. After reaching Ellis Island, Mr. Walcott, better known as Wally, joined his brother, who had migrated a few years earlier, in Boston. Wally held many jobs, and with his savings he opened Wally's Paradise at 428 Massachusetts Avenue in 1947. Wally was the first African American to own a nightclub in New England; he brought new and exciting acts to town and the nightclub became a featured attraction for jazz aficionados who rushed to see the famous bands of the day.
The Sixties arrived and the Big Band era was diminishing. Wally maintained his commitment to the music we know as jazz by featuring young musicians who were attending prominent academic institutions such as Berklee College of Music, the Boston Conservatory, and the New England Conservatory of Music. Mr. Walcott cleverly decided to hire these young music students and mixed them with seasoned professionals who were veterans of the Big Band era. This mix of talent was special, and the format enabled Mr. Walcott to continue to serve the jazz loving audiences of New England.
In 1979 Wally closed its original location at 428 Massachusetts Avenue and moved across the street to 427 Massachusetts Avenue the present location of the nightclub. Wally's CafÃ© now features live music 365 days a year. Many of the musicians are professionals, but Wally's still maintains its tradition of providing students with a stage to perfect their craft.