Many of us were worried when we heard the rumor that The Lager House was being sold. “They’re changing to a blues format? The name is going to be changed? We have to make sure we go there one last time while it’s still recognizable”
It really turned out to be a semi-retirement plan for some guy that most of us will envy in our later years. He made some repairs to the bathrooms that were long overdue, painted the whole interior, and refinished the wood floors. He experimented with the format, trying to add blues and other genres, but I think he figured out that trying to be everything to everybody just left the public confused. (I don’t know if that girl Carrie still works there or not, but I’m glad she was brought on to bring the booking back to what it once was)
The change that I embraced the most had to be the no cover policy. Bands playing there would get paid with a cut from that night’s drink sales. Now I could go see a new band I was curious about, and know that if they sucked, I would only be out the price of a PBR. I would have spent that money somewhere anyway. I found that peace of mind to be very comforting. I’m disappointed whenever I show up there for something I’m really looking forward to, and find out that they’re charging a cover for that night after all. Either bands with a good following (and some deluded ones that don’t) decided that the math worked more to their favor that way, or they just really love having their audience split into a caste system. If you want to know before you get there if there’s going to be a cover or not, don’t bother checking any of their advertising, because it never gets mentioned there. The only place that differentiates between their non-cover and cover nights is their official website.
For those who need the certainty of knowing that you’ll be the only chump paying to get in, or the certainty of knowing that they can point and laugh at the one and only chump who paid to get in, you’ll always have The Belmont.