Key change: Nectar's opens
The party's on. Nectar's, the new music club in what used to be Outerland, will introduce its team to the Island with a free open house tomorrow night, when local musicians will be featured on the main stage.
Nectar's owners: cool, savvy, and ready to rock. From left, Jason Gelrud, Noel Donnellan, Christopher Walsh, general manager Alex Budney, and Peter Picard. Photo by Ralph Stewart
"We want to create a place where everyone can come hang out and feel comfortable, whether there's a big band or a local band on stage," says Jason Gelrud, who co-owns the club with Noel Donnellan, Christopher Walsh, and Peter Picard.
Local music is integral to the Nectar's blueprint, established at the other existing Nectar's club in Burlington, Vermont. Both from a business perspective - culling local talent could help the venue remain open year-round - and from the philosophical - Nectar's has been a starting place for many local Burlington bands, including Phish, the world-famous jam band.
"Basically, wherever there's good music - because local music is very important to us - and college kids, I think Nectar's will thrive," Mr. Walsh says. "I think our brand represents a lifestyle which is micro-brewed beer, Phish, festivals, kids who go to liberal arts colleges with a little bit of money, but love music and a semi-decadent lifestyle - little heady hipsters."
Nectar's has leased the property for the summer from brothers Barry Rosenthal of West Tisbury and Arthur Rosenthal of Wellesley, who for three years owned and operated Outerland, which is located at the Martha's Vineyard Airport.
"It gives us a chance to test drive a Ferrari without plunking down a lot of money," Mr. Walsh says. "It also helps the Rosenthals out because they weren't able to sell it, and they were going to be dark all summer. We'd like to break even and show our investors the potential here and get them behind it, and purchase it."
It's a streamlined approach. As in Burlington, the club owners will focus on atmosphere and music. "We're a music venue that serves food, we're not a high-end restaurant that also has some entertainment," Mr. Walsh says. The club will serve bar food - burgers, wings, its popular gravy fries. "Food you can eat while you're listening to a band blast in your ears.
"I think Outerland tried to do too many things," Mr. Walsh says. "When we walked into this place we felt that it had an identity crisis. They did a great job, put a lot of money into the place, but trying to be a high-end restaurant and do music just seemed like too much."