Thursday, June 11, 2009

Room 710 Might Close, Which Gets Me Thinking...

Room 710More than ever I've been noticing a problem when I try to attend shows downtown: lack of parking. I can't find a parking spot for the life of me these days, and it's been worse in the past couple months than any time since I've been attending shows. I've found myself driving around for 15 minutes looking for a free spot lately. Now, the keyword here is free. I know I can shell out ten bucks to a shady parking lot attendant, but this is a recession. Less money I spend on parking means more money for cover or for the bar. In the past couple years, I've never had trouble finding an empty parking meter, even at 11:30 on a Saturday night. I don't know what's causing this recent parking scarcity, but part of it definitely has to do with the closure of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas parking lot on 11th and Red River. It's just a block north of Mohawk and three blocks north of Room 710.

Which brings me to the storied venue. Room 710 could declare bankruptcy on August 2. The Austin Chronicle and Austin Sound are reporting that the club's owner Asher Garber is feeling the economic pinch and may have to close his doors for good later this summer. This comes on the heels of Spiros nightclub closing its doors permanently last week after a shooting that injured eight patrons led to pressure from the district attorney and the Texas Alcoholic Beverages Commission to shutter the club.

Garber makes some interesting points in the writer Austin Powell's piece for the Chronicle. He blames the decrease in available parking for lowered foot traffic. He also blames the booking war between two local behemoth tour-booking agencies: C3 Presents (booker for Emo's, Stubb's, and ACL Fest) and Transmission Entertainment (booker for Mohawk, Red 7, Lambert's, and Fun Fun Fun Fest). That's an interesting story worthy of its own book, let alone its own blog post. So I won't touch on that issue just yet.

So if you're going downtown this summer, make sure to stop by 710 for a drink. It's easy to find: The address is 710 Red River Street. One of my favorite shows ever took place at 710: One-Eyed Doll on Valentine's Day. It was a Saturday night and singer-guitarist and all-around-crazy-girl Kimberly Freeman was energetic and passionate, even by her already high standards. This club is also where local legendary stoner-rock jam trio Tia Carrera got its start. Lots of great underground punk shows go on here as well. It's hard to imagine what this city might be missing out on if Room 710 closes for good after nine years of amazing contributions to the scene. Support your local businesses, people!

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Ian Morales said...

I like Room 710. That is where I first saw The Sword believe it or not. I also love Room 710 for giving metal and punk bands a venue to play. Some of my favorite local bands I have seen there are Velvet Brick, Head Panic and One Eyed Doll. I'd hate to see it go. Red River wouldn't be the same.