If you've been to the Way Out or Trader Bob's in recent months, you may have noticed a new venue popped up a few doors down from those Jefferson Avenue institutions.
The Warehouse opened in late November, and owner Tony Labarbera says so far, the reception from the neighborhood has been "good."
"The Way Out wasn't too crazy about us," Labarbera says. "[But] we actually hold the Fox Park Neighborhood Association meetings here [and] they were for us. The alderwoman Phyllis Young is a big supporter."
The bar and venue is still getting its sea legs, and so far it's mostly been open on weekends and for one-off performances. Still, Labarbera said the Warehouse is starting to see demand for a more regular schedule; March is already booked, and their April schedule is starting to fill up.
The venue does have the advantage of having "a few connections" to the local music community already, Labarbera says. His daughter, Christine, is a member of Skarekrau Radio, a band which rang in the new year with an epic bloodbath of a performance at the Warehouse. (The venue also keeps operations in the family; Labarbera runs it with the help of his wife and children.)
"The crowds haven't been enormous but they've been fun crowds, we've been getting great feedback," he says. "A lot of bands are coming here to try out stuff, they haven't played in public before. We've had a lot of new acts, we had Cold Shoot Arms here recently. [They were] really talented young kids, very professional. It was the first time they'd played and I was blown away."
Labarbera added that he thinks the Warehouse is the perfect place for new bands to field-test their material in a live setting.
"I want it to be professional, not like you just stuck a band in the corner of the bar," he says. "I want to make it known that we're a musician-oriented venue, that's what we're here for. We want to be like the KDHX thing, you know, 'Independent music plays here.' We're here to support the artists and musicians."
While the bar's main focus is alcohol, it does have a small menu of concession fare such as hot dogs and nachos. The drink prices are reasonable, and generally there's a $5 cover on the weekends. The New Addresses, Hat Party, Langen Neubacher and Terry Rice are on deck for Saturday night, and The Morleys and the Trophy Mules play February 26.
"I think we pulled it off," he says. "I think it works. It's something fresh for the city, and I think we're going to get a nice crowd here."
Labarbera invites local musicians to contact him at 314-368-8669 if they want to play at The Warehouse.
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