When the Blue Nile closed a few weeks ago, it was a tough time for many. Though there were plenty of cheers, smiles and hugs going around that final weekend, it still was part celebration, part commiseration. It was perhaps the best funeral ever. The Nile, as a music venue, art gallery, and bastion of everything from Honky Tonk Happy Hours to poetry readings, was no doubt a cultural hub for downtown Harrisonburg. This was best portrayed in the myriad heartfelt eulogies posted on Facebook the following week from patrons and employees alike.
It was a huge loss for Harrisonburg, and there was a concert of voices wishing for it to somehow resurrect. Well, rest your little heads.
Paul Somers, perhaps known best as the official Old South High photographer, signed a lease with Matchbox Realty and plans to open for business in February. Just kidding…for those out of the loop, Paul is well known as one of downtown’s most diligent and welcoming culture creators, with years of leadership in everything from the Super Gr8 Film Festival, Larkin Arts’ galleries, to Arts Council of the Valley, and the annual Skatan Worshippers Art Show. He’s also a heck of a bartender; his last gig was managing the downstairs bar at The Nile. Now, he has the whole place in his hands and plans to make some minor but crucial changes before reopening.
The menu will obviously be different. It’s probably best not to let the cat out of the bag on this one, but OSH can report that Golden Pony will be serving mostly cats out of bags. Psych. We’re going to keep this one under wraps. All we can say is that it will be American fare, and they are currently finalizing the menu. Here are three teasers:
1) There will be a Kids Menu.
2) Brunch will be served Saturday and Sunday 9am-2pm.
3) Every Friday and Saturday night, the upstairs will serve breakfast from midnight to 5am.
Yes, you read that right. After-hours breakfast on the weekends that doesn’t involve Waffle House or Sheetz.
Aesthetically, most things will stay the same, but he’s brought on Elliott Downs and Lynda Bostrom for some additional interior design and branding work, respectively; each of whom is no stranger to The Nile. Some familiar faces will also return to the downstairs bar/venue. Mark Finks will assist in curating the music, though won’t be quite as hands on since he’s now the Manager of Court Square Theater. Eric Shy will take the lead as the audio technician. Adam Blackburn will head up the security team. Paul will be assembling the rest of the team, veteran and rookie, over the next couple months.
But right now he needs your help. He’s posted an Indiegogo campaign seeking to raise $18,500 in the next 30 days. This money will go toward purchasing the existing sound equipment, upgrading some sound equipment, and installing some acoustic panels for the venue space (to improve the sound quality). There are some pretty sweet perks, with funding levels ranging from $5 to $5000. If you have a hole in your heart from the Nile closing, then this is your chance to do something. If this is the cultural hub and community you miss seeing in downtown Harrisonburg, then now is your time to act.
Paul has taken a huge risk, and will only succeed with our support. And right now that support should come in the form of dollar bills, y’all. Help a brother out. We will all be the richer for it.
Stay Gold, Harrisonburg. Stay Gold.