F rom the VIP balcony, Michael Labrie will have one of the ideal seats in the dwelling to see and listen to the musicians at Jimmy’s on Congress.
It’s also where by he can watch the action going on to either facet of the phase. Visitors mingling in the upper stage suite. Persons hanging out by the bar downstairs, sipping $20 martinis.
“This is a good spot to check out the display,” Labrie mentioned for the duration of a latest tour of the not-still-completed jazz and blues club. “This will probably be in which I will dangle out.”
About the earlier 3 several years, Labrie and his brother, Peter, have put in a great deal of time hanging out at Jimmy’s, the former YMCA constructing they are changing into a four-tale amusement venue in downtown Portsmouth.
The restaurateurs hope to provide a ton of leading-shelf cocktails and $5,000 “inner circle” once-a-year memberships when the club opens in September. They have invested far more than $20 million to intestine, rebuild and expand the 1905 brick construction, whose to start with flooring will household a present-day artwork museum.
The Labries’ line products have bundled charges they have never encountered as the proprietors of the River Residence in Portsmouth and the Atlantic Grill in Rye, these as the $15,000 they had to devote to move electrical elements so they could build a “garage” for the grand piano so it has someplace to go when they slide it off the phase.
“I really feel actually self-confident in what we’re doing here,” Michael Labrie mentioned. “But obviously it is a good deal of danger putting this type of income into a little something like this.”
In late 2019, when we past toured the 27,000-sq.-foot home, the inside of of the building was minor a lot more than a shell. The brothers’ eyesight for the project, built by architect Andrew Sidford, had barely started to be understood.
For months, mechanical get the job done remaining the partitions uncovered, and it didn’t glimpse like a lot of anything was occurring. Now, construction staff are laying down flooring and restoring home windows.
“It’s like a new area each individual time we come in,” Michael Labrie stated.
He has led dozens of tours of the property as the brothers check out to establish a buzz for their new undertaking, named in memory of their father and older brother. Elle’s Lounge, inside the club, honors their mom. The brothers had to shelve their authentic system to title the club Elle’s after the fashion magazine of the same identify threatened lawful motion.
The Labries like to tell the tale of the constructing, pointing to uncovered steel beams and the slabs of marble and hardwood from the outdated YMCA they are repurposing and highlighting wherever they can. They’ve reclaimed the light-sharing strategy of the building’s original structure. You can see right by the setting up on every single amount many thanks to loads of glass, a element Peter Labrie notes will be a marvel when the club is lit up at night time.
They’ve hired an govt chef, Nathan Varney, who programs to convey some New Orleans flare to the menu, and an executive director, Greg Kitowicz, whose encounter includes opening destinations for City Vineyard, a supper club leisure design Jimmy’s aims to emulate.
Jimmy’s will function superior-end audio and online video so friends can listen to and see the music from most wherever in the making, whether or not in the main general performance place or in any of the several suites and perform rooms the club will present for corporate functions and weddings. The club will have room for as quite a few as 600 folks.
“All these rooms are heading to experience personal. They are good-sized rooms, but every single small place is intimate,” Peter Labrie explained. “People like jazz in an personal placing, blues not so substantially.”
Peter Labrie, now donning a Jimmy’s on Congress black Nike golfing shirt, is the blues brother of the duo. He would “settle for Santana” to be the to start with act to engage in on Jimmy’s stage.
His brother even now hopes they can woo legendary jazz pianist Herbie Hancock.
“I want him to open up this place with “Canteloupe Island,” Michael Labrie said.
Hancock could expect the royal remedy ought to he settle for the give. The club’s “green room,” where by musicians linger until eventually performance time, was intended to really encourage return engagements. The space, one particular floor above the stage, has room for satisfy-and-greets and can be expanded by walling off element of the nearby bar — for artists who could possibly command far more spacious digs. Musicians will use an elevator that will allow them to enter stage suitable without the need of obtaining to wade by means of the viewers.
People benefits will make the job simpler for Suzanne Bresette, who is overseeing equally advertising and marketing and scheduling responsibilities for the club.
“When we have been very first speaking to some of Suzanne’s contacts in the market, one particular of the key factors they reported was make sure you are not just pondering about your buyer practical experience. Make certain you are thinking about the artist as effectively,” Peter Labrie reported.
It is all about developing a sacred place.
“Our architect this earlier Saturday was giving a tour to possible customers down in Cambridge, which included a Baptist minister,” Michael Labrie explained. “And Andrew said to him, ‘This is the primary overall performance house.’ And the minister suggests to him, ‘No, this is the church of jazz.’
“We appreciate that quote.”