Stronghold’s future as a music venue in jeopardy

Until further notice, there will be no more live music shows at The Stronghold. When WeLoVenice heard the news, we were pretty bummed out. We’re music lovers here, and the Stronghold is (was?) hands-down the best venue for live music in the area.

Stronghold music organizers will continue to produce shows around Venice (stay on top of those by visiting the Stronghold at Facebook), so great music will continue coming to the area. But it ain’t gonna’ be the same.

What’s the problem? The Stronghold’s three partners are in disagreement over the shop’s hosting of live music in the evenings (by day, the Stronghold is, of course, a very cool jean shop). The dispute reached the shop’s landlord who is currently in support of keeping the Stronghold limited to a clothing business.

In an interview with parties involved with the dispute, WeLoveVenice learned that making some improvements to the upstairs loft at the Stronghold where shows are held may help bring the music back, but it’s no guarantee.

What can you do in the meantime? First, “Like” (or check in regularly at) the Stronghold on Facebook so you can stay on top of shows the Stronghold music organizers are putting on.  Once you’re in the loop, head out to some shows! The Stronghold (as a live music venue) needs your support more than ever right now. Petitions will be on hand at future shows to help bring the music back.

About the author


  1. Vic says:

    The Stronghold is currently asking folks to email a “what the Stronghold means to me” letter to them to serve as a petition. Below is mine. I’d appreciate your thoughts and comments.

    I am a native of Los Angeles. I’ve never been anywhere else for longer than a few months at a time and would like to think of myself as fairly perceptive when it comes to noting the changes in my environment. The following is what The Stronghold means to me:
    At first, The Stronghold, at least conceptually, was a great idea; it’s a stripped-down, bare-bones room equipped with resonant hardwood floors, exposed industrial-like ceilings, and the mystique of being on one of LA’s coolest streets. To top it off, it’s in a relatively affluent area, and an area with no real competition as far as other music venues. So what went wrong?
    The owner and his “booker” (I use quotes here because she’s actually his girlfriend) touted the place as being for the “music” and the “community”. Which is great. In theory. It ended up not being for the community and definitely not for music; it ended up being a place where you get treated like garbage by a staff that, depending on just how much they dislike your face, will force a “donation” of between $10 and $15 to walk in the door. Ok, I’m in. Now what? Now I can pay $5 for a PBR or Caguama or a glass of the latest freshly-boxed varietal wine from Peter Vela. Believe it or not, what I’ve said up to this point is actually all pretty OK in my book (except for the surly staff). I understand that rent is high on Abbott Kinney and we have to pay a little extra to sustain it. It is indeed a cool place and if there’s a knowledgeable person working the mixing board (as far as I can tell, there’s only one: Don. The other guy(s) seems like he would have trouble operating cups and string), the room can sound downright heavenly. What bothers me aren’t my dealings with them as far as “patron/club” relations go: they’re a music venue afterall, and if there’s an artist I really yearn to see live, I’ll go pretty much anywhere to see him/her/them. My issue is my dealings with them in the context of “musician/club” relations.
    The Stronghold is not an engima. The Stronghold owners and bookers and part owners and hangers-on, and doorguys, and bartenders, and soundguys, and musicians, right on down to the janitors, care about money. We’re all in this as a partnership, right? I’m a musician, and a pretty decent one. I’m not a professional, and I’m not rich, and it is not my sole source of income, but I rely partly on music to yield at least some sort of monetary benefit. Afterall, I’ve put in a lot of work to become the musician I am, and if somebody is willing to pay $10-$15 to hear me play, I’m entitled to at least some part of that money, regardless of how astronomical rent is in the venue where I’m playing. Perhaps my initial expectations were unreasonable, but The Stronghold became a failed partnership between musicians and the community. I played at The Stronghold under an ambiguous contract that the “booker” had texted to me. Not emailed, mind you- texted. It stated that musicians would be paid after the club had “recouped their costs for the evening”. Sadly, the contract never specified what these costs average. I realize that I’m partly to blame, here; if you’re going to give a relative stranger the opportunity to screw you, you can’t expect them not to, I suppose. Especially when money’s involved, but hey- I got excited, I mean, it’s The Stronghold. I’m just a musician; I just want to put on a show in a good venue that people want to go to. Well, I brought nearly 50 people to The Stronghold on that night, a weeknight, and on only a week’s notice. Each and every person paid between $10-$15 to get in the door. And they all paid for their drinks. And they all came to see me, yet I saw not a penny of the money because the booker insisted that they had not “recouped their costs”. Don’t you see, Stronghold? You continually put last that which should’ve been first: the music. It was fate, you know; you were doomed to alienate people until they ultimately wanted nothing to do with you. You were too idyllic, too simple, too expensive. I say all of this, but considering it all- the rude staff, over-priced everything, spacey, disorganized bookers, [EDITED BY SITE ADMINISTRATOR], and a general sense of disdain, even after all of that, I still miss The Stronghold because having it around, but run by assholes and idiots, is better than not having it at all.

  2. Zeke says:

    Well said Vic. They were selling booze without permits while other venues on the same street are paying thousands for their liquor licenses. Nobody can justify that just because its cool or hip they can do what they want and treat people the way they want. The individuals involved are nothing but snakes. I’m gonna miss the fake hippie, yuppie or whatever you want to call it establishment….

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