RFT file photo / Greenfinch Theater & Dive logo
Say goodbye to the Way Out and hello to the Finch.
St. Louisans have been mourning the loss of the Way Out Club deeply this month. Though the club announced its closure in 2021
, it wasn’t until last week that the public was let inside for an epic estate sale
of all things kitsch.
But all of this attention to the space had people wondering what would come of it once the Way Out had been cleaned out.
Well, today we have an answer.
spoke with Colin Healy
who, along with his business partner Bradley Rohlf, is soon to open the Greenfinch Theater & Dive
in the former Way Out Club space at 2525 South Jefferson. The business will be a combination dive bar and community theater, and they’re working overtime to get it open this spring. (Pending occupancy and liquor permits, of course.)
“We want Greenfinch to be not only a community space for south city,” Healy says. “But we also want it to be a place where the entire St. Louis community interacts with its best-kept secret: it’s amazing theater scene.”
Colin Healy, the owner of the Greenfinch Theater & Dive, in 2018
Their goal is to make the performance area a rentable, affordable space for unhoused theater companies in town. Healy says he’s been blessed with having his own company, Fly North Theatricals
, taken under the wing of the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, and he’s eager to pay it forward.
“We got the opportunity to open this place up and we not only see it as a community space interfacing with the theater scene, we also kind of see it as our way to give back to the theater scene that’s treated us so nicely,” Healy says.
Healy says he always felt at home at the Way Out Club because he spent his younger years out on the road touring with his band and had been in many similar spaces. Recently, he wondered why “that punk, dive bar ethic can’t be applied to theater as well as it is to music venues.” So he decided to make it happen.
He says he and Rohlf are planning to keep the dive bar vibes in both the drinking area and the performance area. Healy comes from a family that has owned bars for the past century, so he’s seen firsthand how a dive bar can be an “equalizer for the community. No matter who you are, no matter what your financial background or abilities are: Everybody goes to drink at the dive bar.”
They plan for the bar to be open seven days a week and are currently in the process of applying for a 1:30 a.m. liquor license, which they're hoping to get in a few months. Pending an approved occupancy permit, they’re putting on their first show in the space “as-is” at the beginning of March. Fly North Theatricals' production of Peter and the Starcatcher
is scheduled to run from March 3 through March 12, 2023. There will be six performances, and all of them will be free to the public.
The theater will be available for booking beginning fall 2023, and until then, it will function as an unpretentious space for both drinking and community building – something that clearly thrills south city resident Healy to a large degree. Making theater accessible to as many people as possible seems to be his goal.
“We want to end the days of getting dressed up to go to the theater. We see the dive bar ethic sort-of permeating the space. Like, you can show up with your shorts and sandals and grab a Stag and you go watch a freakin’ awesome music or play.”
For the most up-to-date information on the space, follow the Greenfinch Theater & Dive Facebook page
or check out the website at GreenFinchSTL.com
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