For those of you who haven’t made it in to Starday Tavern under current ownership, bummer for you. You probably never saw it as Bob and Alice’s either, I suppose. Well, in regards to the latter, you’re probably better off. (Though, I would say you missed a bit of Foster history.)
As for Starday currently, they’ve been hosting live music three or four nights a week for well over a year now. And a lot of it good, too. Starday’s owner happens to own Duff’s Garage, as well, so his pedigree of booking good music is well known. He decided a few months ago to keep those talents at Duff’s, however, and put Starday on the market. Our initial thought: it would be the day the music died on Foster.
See, the Bob White Theatre is no more (at least as we know it); Gemini Lounge stopped hosting a mostly-every-weekend lineup of DJs and musicians months ago; and Torta-landia gave up the live music thing back in 2014. Not that those are heavy-hitting music venues—and we still have O’Malley’s to rely on for good metal, rock, punk and, now, the occasional reggae show, as well as Bar Carlo’s sometimes-stab at live jazz—but the cumulative effect of all those was a fairly vibrant music scene on Foster.
Fear not, elements are still there: the aforementioned O’Malley’s; Hallowed Halls just set up their recording studio in the neighborhood; Foster Row hosts the occasional band at their events; Devil’s Point does Stripperaoke; and we have that violin-playing chicken that inhabits Laurelwood Park (I kid, I kid…sort of). But Starday was the most consistent source of live music. Losing that would have been a big blow.
The music stays, though.
That’s what we’ve heard from new owner, Justin Amrine, who officially takes over Starday on Wednesday. He and his wife, Shannon, plan to keep live music as a regular part of the bar’s offering. The only difference is that it won’t be restricted (mostly) to Americana (i.e. folk, country, rockabilly), as was the former venue. They plan to mix up the sounds a bit and offer a larger variety of music. And that’s good—one thing Starday was never able to do under former ownership was appeal to a variety of local bar-goers.
Justin and Shannon might be able to do that. And not just with the music. They also plan to broaden the menu a little bit, (hopefully) with the assistance of local food vendors. The hours will be adjusted, too, for occasional morning openings on weekends. (Though, that will coincide mostly with football season, as they plan to add more TVs on the walls for the NCAA and NFL fans.)
One more note on the new owners. They are local to the neighborhood and, at least when talking to Justin, seem keyed in to what the vibe is on Foster. They want it to be a neighborhood bar and seem open to feedback, so pop in next week when they take the reins.