A Saanich pub is offering a new venue for local bands to rock out on Saturday nights.
The Phoenix Bar & Grill recently renovated its dance floor in an effort to bring live music back to the Quadra Street restaurant on weekends. Though it isn’t their first foray into hosting concerts, it’s a big push into establishing themselves as a solid music venue.
“We started doing live music years ago, but we didn’t really have the following,” said general manager Jen Turner. “We had just opened up and no one had really heard of the place. Now we’re a little more settled in the community.”
While dozens of restaurants and pubs in downtown Victoria host live shows every week, the Phoenix is one of the few Saanich venues to try putting on concerts, setting them apart from other bars in the district.
“We’re opening up this alley for live music in Saanich,” she said. “Not many places have this space, either. We’re really fortunate to have a pretty open area to dance and move around.
“There’s a definite need for people to get out and let loose once in a while.”
Mike Turner, Jen’s father and owner of the Phoenix, said they bring in artists from a range of genres – rock, salsa, bluegrass – to their self-proclaimed “blue-collar bar.” By hosting a variety of bands, they also draw a variety of crowds, from your typical working class bar-goer to university students and everyone in-between.
“It’s only $5 to get in, and they’re good rock ‘n’ roll bands,” said Mike “The calibre of music is impressive.”
“We’ve kind of got this revolving list of eight to 12 bands that we can pick from,” added Jen. “It’s not just the same type over and over again.”
Their upcoming calendar features local blues quartet Blackfish (April 23), classic rock bands Big Smoke (May 14) and Rock Steady (May 21), and a CD release party for psychedelic surf-funk four-piece 9Volt Whiskey (May 28). The Turners expect some solid turnouts to the shows, and they said the bands are sure to turn it up to 11.
“You can be as loud as you want – we don’t have anybody on either side or out front,” said Jen.