Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Beehive Social Club

Peering into the rising all-ages venue on State Street.

Posted By on September 13, 2016, 1:00 AM

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After years of weird scheduling, management changes, awesome shows and a sense of unpredictability, Bar Deluxe closed down last year, part of a string of local music venues shutting down along State Street for various reasons. Truth be told, a lot of us who had grown to love the venue (especially after the most recent ownership cleaned the place up a bit) weren't sure it wasn't going to become another casualty of SLC's failure to properly support bars and venues for nightlife entertainment, and become an empty hall for the next several years. Then, earlier this year, the venue started hosting shows again under the new name The Beehive Social Club, becoming an all-ages location with the hopes of soon adding a vegan diner to the front end. Today, we chat with the current owners of the space about what they intend to do with it, along with pictures I recently took of a punk rock show.

Andrew Earley, Konrad Keele & Krys McIntyre
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The Beehive Social Club on Facebook

Gavin: Hey everyone! First off, tell us a little bit about yourselves.

Hi Gavin! Thanks for interviewing us. I'm Andrew, I run the restaurant half of the BSC with Krys. I have two dogs.

Krys: I'm Krys, born and raised in Utah, I have purple hair and two cats.

Konrad: I'm Konrad Keele, I'm 6'3", I have hazel eyes.

Prior to the Social Club, what had each of you been doing prior?

Andrew: I bartend at Brewvies, I used to play music sometimes. I got into this project because of the great time I had booking local shows at the coffee shop I used to manage many years ago called Baxters. I think you also once interviewed me about a podcast I did or something, I dunno.

Krys: Witchcraft. Er... I've worked at Barnes & Noble for a long time. Meanwhile, I've also been a childbirth doula, a barista at Sugar House Coffee, and worked for a midwife.

 Well, I've owned DIY venues semi-legally for the last seven or so years, and I run a small screen printing business that helps pay the bills.

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How did the three of you all meet each other and become friends?

Andrew: Krys and I grew up around the corner from each other. I went to school with her younger siblings, then when I moved to Salt Lake City, we lived in the same old church-turned-apartments.

Konrad: Andrew and I met through straight edge and hardcore and Boing! and random shows, then we both volunteered at Ching Farm Animal Sanctuary together every week.

Krys: I don't even remember meeting Andrew; I've known him forever. Konrad and I know each other because of this business we're starting.

What memories do the three of you have from Bar Deluxe over the years?

Andrew: I only went to a few shows, my favorite being a benefit where they turned the four wooden pillars in the middle of the room into a boxing ring and everyone beat each other up with those giant inflatable boxing gloves.

Konrad: I don't wanna talk about that. Haha!

Krys: I'd never been inside before we came to look at it. I've always loved that sign with the blinking bubbles, though. It's a landmark, and we're keeping it up.

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How did the idea come about to start up a new venue together in the space?

Konrad: I saw a "for lease" sign on Bar Deluxe and called the number. I came and looked at it a few times and talked to the landlord, then remembered Andrew was trying to start a restaurant and I hit him up.

Andrew: Yeah, me and Krys had been invested in a separate space on the north side of town for going on three years, and really felt like we were spinning our wheels on it. So when Konrad called and told me about Bar Deluxe, I think my exact words were "Isn't it at 666, so? Dude. Let's do it"

Krys: This is all thanks to Konrad. He found the space and invited us to partner with him, and the opportunity was too good to pass up.

I know a lot of people had been looking at it for a while and eventually passed. What did you see in the space that others didn't?

Andrew: I think the biggest difference was that we weren't really looking to have a liquor license. The space doesn't really make a whole lot of sense as just a venue—it needs something to supplement—and with how hard it is to get a liquor license in this town, I think that's the reason most people passed.

Konrad: I think that having done this for so long, I just saw all the potential the building had, and how we could get past the flaws.

Krys: Andrew and I had already looked at building something from scratch, or at restoring a place so water-damaged that an entire floor had caved in, so we weren't daunted by how much work it would take to fix up the space.

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What was the state of the venue when you first took over? What changes did you end up making to it?

Konrad: It was pretty gross.

Andrew: They had gutted a lot of things, there was no sound system, the bar was pretty haggard.

Konrad: But most of the venue side we kept the same. New sound system, a couple coats of paint.

Krys: We have done a ton to the front half, though. New lights, new kitchen, new bar, new paint, tables, benches; it looks pretty great.

How did you go about booking shows at first and what kind of music did you want to populate it with?

Konrad: I started booking shows because I was in bands and nobody wanted to book punk bands, so it turned into a necessity. Then, even after the band died, I've been doing it ever since.

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Did you go all-ages because you wanted another under-21 venue? Or was it more a necessity as you didn't have a liquor license at the time?

Konrad: All-ages is super important to me. Music should be a unifier, not a separator. Anyone should have access to music, no matter what their age. Every venue I've ever run has been all-ages. I remember being that kid sitting outside of venues having to just listen to shows I wasn't allowed in, and I'm super empathetic to that.

Andrew: Same for me, music has defined my life a lot. I have always believed it should be for everyone. I wouldn't ever want to run a venue that didn't let everyone have a chance to experience that.

Krys: We have friends who are kids and friends who have kids. We want our space to be inclusive to anyone who isn't a jerk. Also, there are plenty of bars on State Street already. We want to offer something different to the community.

What was it like getting the word out? And what were the first few shows like when you opened up?

Konrad: Getting the word out was pretty easy. There was a lot of hype that I was going legit with a venue. The first shows have been a little tough, since being an all-ages venue, our only income is the door, and most of that goes to the bands.

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You told me you have awesome plans for the front room. What are you looking to do with it?

Andrew: So, we rebuilt the entire bar, we installed (and are still installing) a full kitchen, we put in new lighting, we had some amazing custom tables and benches and our new counter top built by a good friend of ours, painted everything. You aren't even going to recognize it. It's been a huge project, but it's been really awesome. The restaurant is a comfort-food-focused vegan diner. Krys and I have been vegan for about a decade now, and we want to become the restaurant that we've always wanted to eat at, but that just doesn't exist in town.

Krys: Watch for Mark of the Beastro. We'll serve damn good vegan food, haha.

Knowing how big the space is, are there any other plans to utilize it beyond a music venue and restaurant?

Konrad: Absolutely. If you have any ideas send them our way!

Andrew: Yeah, so far we had the Rock & Roll Girls Camp showcase here, which was totally a venue thing, but being able to help out those girls was amazing. And we just had a benefit show/art event that was super incredible.

Krys: We want to help build community; that's really important to us. We're going to get a film projector to screen local, indie films. There's a large bookcase we're working on filling with books and zines; donations are welcome. Benefit shows will be frequent. Maybe hosting some free school classes and workshops. The possibilities are nearly endless, and that's one of the most exciting things about this venture: having a big, central location that we can put to use in so many ways.

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For bands who would like to play the Beehive Social Club, how can they get in touch with you?

Konrad: Well, I'm being forced to be pretty selective right now on who I book, but I'm definitely open to renting the space out for locals. We fill up pretty fast so the best route is to come down and meet me at the venue, and to shoot for a month or so out.

What can we expect from the three of you and the venue over the rest of the year?

Andrew: Well, the restaurant is still coming soon, but we have a few big shows that we're working on getting some really exciting ones, but ones we can't really talk about until we've got them for sure.

Konrad: Ya, haha. Cool shows, and I've definitely got some atmospheric ideas to make this place really cool and fun for kids and adult kids like me. Think foot clan.

Krys: I want to host a Really Really Free Market in the venue. Like a flea market, but there's no money or barter, just take what you want. We'll announce it on Facebook once the date has been set, and everyone's welcome to bring things to give away.

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