Seven Grand returns to its whiskey atmosphere

North Park bar unplugs and refurbishes

L.A. garage-rocker Mike Krol will miss the stage (and curtains) at Seven Grand.
  • L.A. garage-rocker Mike Krol will miss the stage (and curtains) at Seven Grand.

One of the unique gems of the North Park music scene has gone dark. The stage in the back room of Seven Grand is no more.

“I felt our music program was amazing, but we had to just get back to whiskey,” Seven Grand bartender Josh Judd explained to me in the venue’s new “whiskey den.” It’s basically the same back room, revamped with new leather booths, flooring, and a whiskey-specific bar with no beer taps.

According to Judd, the room was doing well, but the venue decided they wanted to return to their original vision of the bar having a purely “whiskey atmosphere.” "It was a concentrated effort to calm the room, give it a more consistent feel with the rest of the bar. It should also be noted that the space now has an upright piano and that mellower acts will occasionally play the room.”

The room was an intimate space for catching local bands, but perhaps most notable was Seven Grand’s knack for hosting out-of-towners on weekends for free, bands such as Astronauts Etc. and Mike Krol. It seemed like a nifty trick for getting these newer bands on the touring circuit a full audience in a city known for weak turnouts.

Seven Grand

3054 University Avenue, North Park

Contacted via email, Krol recalled, “The room was a perfect size and a lot of fun to play in. We enjoyed the small stage and being so close to the audience with the easy access to roam into the front rows and get people involved in the show. I also realized on the last song that I had control of the curtains on the stage and used them for a dramatic ending.”

Hopefully Seven Grand’s template for hosting out-of-town acts for free on weekend nights finds a new home in the neighborhood. According to Krol, it’s a win for all involved parties.

“People are genuinely excited to be seeing some entertainment for free. Plus, when the audience saves money on not having a cover charge, they usually use that extra cash to buy more drinks, therefore getting tipsy faster and easier to impress with a fast rock-and-roll set filled with mistakes. A win-win for the band and the bar!”

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