I remember seeing the great Josh White perform in a showcase room called The Gaslight in Miami in the late '60s. Not only was the sound superb, the lighting was so skillfully done that it added another magical dimension to the experience — the pin spot on Josh's face would die away into darkness with the last note of his guitar.
I would define "showcase room" as a small club venue where you can hear a pin drop when the musician is performing; a club where live music is treated with respect and not background fill (or, worse, cover for inane conversation). The musicians, accorded such attention and respect, give their all in return.
Even in San Francisco in the early '70s, a showcase room was rare. A few months ago I happily discovered a bonafide showcase room here in Asheville called The Altamont Theatre. Every show I've attended has had one thing in common: true respect for the performers. The rarity of this is reflected in the delight the entertainers clearly feel for the venue. The room is comfortable, the sound is excellent, and there is no bar noise (beer and wine are available on the lower level).
Just thought I'd share this in case your readers are not aware of a great room to listen to music here in Asheville.
— Arthur Hancock