While Tacoma’s nightlife/music scene has been shrinking lately due to the closures of some area bars and lounges, a new music venue has taken over where Hell’s Kitchen used to be and it is getting off to a great start. The Loch’s officially opened just two weeks ago, but the buzz is building – and things have only just begun.
“All the events just seem to get better and better,” said owner Lonnie Reed, who is also the former booking agent for Hell’s Kitchen. “It’s been cool.” He gives the bands that have performed there a good portion of the credit for The Loch’s starting off strongly. “They’re all really intelligent, hardworking people who know how to promote themselves and get people to come in. We have a really good scene in Tacoma for local music.”
He also noted the solid base of Hell’s Kitchen customers who keep coming back, and he intends to keep them happy by putting the focus of The Loch’s on the music first and foremost.
“I want it to be a music venue in the purest sense,” Reed explained. “This is place where people can go for live music, not a bar where bands play. The bar comes second; the music comes first.”
While Hell’s Kitchen enjoyed nearly 10 years as the city’s premiere venue for heavy metal and punk rock, Reed said he will keep these genres of music in the new club’s line-up and expand to include indie rock, progressive rock and hip-hop as well. “As long as it provides a crowd, you want it in the club. We’re definitely adding a lot of different shows from different walks of life.”
Reed said he would see to it that bands are paid cash for their time, which is not always the case for struggling musicians. “Every band that’s played in my venue the last four shows has gotten paid,” Reed said, noting that such a fair policy will be good for business. “If you take care of bands and take care of the customers, the rest takes care of itself.”
Reed and his partner Meranda Fritz have big plans for the interior of the establishment as well, such as lightening up the atmosphere, adding fresh paint to the walls and other cosmetic improvements. Soon a sign will be put in place outside. After this weekend, The Loch’s will close up for a few days to allow workers inside to get busy on some renovations.
The food offerings will be shaken up as well, Reed said. “The menu will be simple and lighter. I don’t want it to be labeled ‘bar food.’” He said the menu will feature more deli-style sandwiches and fish and chips, among other offerings.
Reed said the building’s owners knowingly took a risk by replacing one bar business with another given the current economic climate that has been taking down other Tacoma bars and lounges, but with The Loch’s being primarily a live music venue, Reed feels the masses will come and keep the business going.
“It was more of an emotional thing for them than a business decision,” he said of the building’s owners, who wanted to keep the Hell’s Kitchen legacy alive in some form or another. “It was a favor to keep this place going.”
THIS WEEKEND AT THE LOCH’S
Friday, Sept. 21 – Blood and Thunder, Beyond Theory, Curse of the North and Thou Shall Kill, 21+/$5 @ the door/show at 7 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 22 – Contender, Never Met a Dead Man, Numbers, Mad Mardigan and Dead Eyes in the Dar, all ages/$8 @ the door/show at 7 p.m.
Sun., Sept. 23 – “Seize the September Birthday Bash” with Love the Lost and more, all ages, $8, doors 6:30 p.m. and show at 7.