Dear, Salem. It is with a heavy heart that I share this news with you. I don’t even want to type it. The Fifty Pub and Grub in West Salem is closing. It’s not only closing, they’re going to demolish it. The edifice will cease to exist. Leveled. No more. Word is the land was bought by some big shot, fancy developers who are going to put in a much needed strip mall. O! My heart.
I guess you can tell, this is a little personal to me. Yeah, I’m going to get personal for a minute.
My dad used to hang out at The Fifty back in the 80’s when it was called The 50-50. When he died in 1987, my mother and I got a huge bouquet and a card from them. And yeah, I dug out the card last night and cried.
I met my best friend, Shauna there.
My first live show after a 20 year hiatus was at The Fifty, when my band was just Marc & Tawny (we’re now a full band, Marc & The Horsejerks). I got my stage legs back there. Since then I’ve played there so many times. That is totally due to Justin Stimson (aka Mustin Douch), who moved to Salem from Portland about four years ago to hang out with me *wink*. Justin had been booking in Portland and made Fast friends with the folks at The Fifty, who opened their doors and enabled him to bring bands from all over the world to Salem. I helped him assemble his PA, made some sound deadening curtains, and overall just felt completely at home there. The thought of never hanging those plush, red velvet curtains or never rocking my bass on that black and red checkered floor is kind of ripping my heart out. And that’s just me – my pain. I know there are many more people who work there, who have worked there, and who have rocked that room longer than I have that are feeling it too.
The bright side is the owner is actively looking for a new home. And I’ve been assured there will be music and there will still be our favorite bad-ass bartender. This helps. A little.
And yes, there will be a farewell show on Saturday, April 28th. Nothing is 100% confirmed yet, but I’m sure it will be an all day affair. They’re booking as many bands as want to play. As of press time, Potatoe Famine is confirmed – another Fifty staple. There are a lot of great shows in town that same night, but it’s time to pay our respects to one of Salem’s best live music venues. At least stop by and take a final look and raise one to progress. I will definitely be following this and will let you know as soon as I know where their new location will be. Look for pics in the next issue of the closing night. A toast! To The Fifty Pub and Grub!