Since new owners Bill Wilson and Mike McKey took over in November 2009, The Pub & Grill at Santa Fe Brewing Company has been undergoing some
. Many of us are psyched—and not just about the
. We’re also psyched about the shows the Pub & Grill—one of the larger music venues in town—has been hosting recently.
Upcoming performances include everything from Susan Holmes’ local honky-tonk to Shemekia Copeland’s nationally renowned, Grammy-nominated blues. I spoke with Gary Miller, the self-described “general manager of sorts” at the Pub & Grill about what else we can expect.
SFR: What’s the deal with the new owners, and what does it mean for the music?
These people are entirely local, and we are absolutely not corporate. I was brought on to handle the music aspect in June and, together, we’re generally very conscious of the local market and the opportunities within that market. We’re open to a little experimentation.
What sort of experimentation?
I’m trying to create a full dance card, if you will. I want to have more and different music and make our events more predictable.
I’ve lived in Santa Fe for 17 years; the new owners are from here. We’re all about the community and being a big part of it. We’re one of the premier music venues in Santa Fe, and we want to stay that way. This will require us to figure out what the community wants and be willing to give them that.
What are the dedicated nights?
These things are still in the works, but we have a tentative plan for how the week will take shape. Sundays will become country swing nights. Tuesdays will feature two or three indie-rock bands for just 10 bucks.
Indie-rock is the future of music, and we hope to integrate the locals with the touring acts. This will give the locals a good idea of what it’s like to be on the road, and will hopefully generate some buzz. My hope is that the touring bands go home and talk about how cool Santa Fe is.
Wednesdays and Thursdays will be a dinner theater/cabaret kind of thing, and Friday and Saturday nights will be reserved for bigger-name touring national acts and DJ dance parties.
Is it true the Pub & Grill will handle its own promotion?
We want to build on the great things people like Jamie Lenfestey and Tim Franke or clubs like Corazón have been accomplishing. I’m trying to be fair and equitable to outside promoters because this is a tricky business and includes a lot of improvising. We will be doing in-house promotion now, which includes ongoing relationships with national agencies. That gives us access to some pretty excellent talent.
Ultimately, we have a great venue. It’s a solid old ship…Is there work to be done? Of course there is. Will it get done? Yes.
A lot of people bitch that the Pub & Grill is too far away, so they can’t drink.
I think there’s a false sense of security for people who are attending downtown shows. People seem to think they’re somehow safer because they’re in town but, whether you’re driving a few blocks or a few miles, you are accountable for your own actions.
I really don’t think it should be as much about the number of drinks consumed, but rather about community and fellowship and, most of all, seeing live music. For people to say we’re too far away is a cop-out.
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