If you’re attuned to the modern music scene, you’ve clocked a portion of your life at The Levee in Holdsworth Court, owned and run by the esteemed music scene supporter, Gene Browne. Moving on to new endeavours, Browne has officially sold the bar to Chris Carter, Ken Power, and Justin Dean who all bought in, at 33.3% split.
The Levee will be renamed to Valhalla Tavern, because, “Honestly, we all like our metal music and it was kind of the concept to be Viking themed. With a Viking history in Newfoundland and a distillery in Clarke’s Beach producing Aquavit, we figure why not. Valhalla, it is!”
But while the name suggests metal, punk, and hardcore music, Carter says it’s just a name. Their real goal is to create a live venue “that musicians can call home.” He says they’ll be “continuing with the rounded genre of The Levee and booking acts in Indie, punk, alternative, acoustic, metal, and even country.”
Carter says he’s known Gene since the days of Turner’s Tavern. “He’s a great guy and if anything, we wanted to keep what Gene was doing for music intact and breathe new life into it. Gene has been at this for 10 years! Dude deserves a break. We are just picking up what he’s doing, making some positive changes he’s wanted to make, and putting our unique spin on the room. I think it’s going to go over well.”
When he heard The Levee was for sale, he couldn’t shake the idea of acquiring it. “I have a background in Business, a few friends who will help me out with it, and I really wanted to keep the sprit of the venue alive and well. That was truly my biggest motivator coming into this.”
“We are doing this for musicians and music lovers. The venue will have a full pro level backline including amps and drums. The sound tech and door is paid by the venue, not coming out of the Door Money that pays bands, that was a big deal for me to have it that way.”
Valhalla will also try and book their bands at least a month in advance, to provide them ample opportunity to promote their event. “We’ll even make you show posters. This is next level support for bands to take advantage of that will hopefully see a resurgence in our Music Scene.”
The trio’s enthusiasm is quashing any entrepreneurial jitters. “There isn’t really any fear going into it. Our biggest Challenge is definitely having no clue what we are doing, haha. But our heart is in the right place, we are doing it for the bands, the music scene, and we have all somewhat managed or owned a business before so should be all good.”
Valhalla Tavern intends to help reinvigorate the city’s dwindled All Ages scene as well. “They’re the next generation of rock stars and they need a venue to play in,” Carter says. “I’m going to make it as accessible for minors as the government will allow, and provide a much-needed home for these young bands.”
They’ll also be reaching out to MusicNL and other local agencies for support and co-sponsorships to create events over the summer and fall.
The guys get the keys on June 4th, after Gene’s big “Levee Break” night. They’ll take a few days to get in and renovate some things, and will be open for business for Trivia and Comedy Night that Wednesday. “Our grand opening weekend is June 9th and 10th, with $2 cover for both nights!
As for drinks, Carter jokes, “the take-over happened so fast, but we will be chased out of town if we didn’t have some unique Viking style drinks in the bar. Working out the details, expect drinking horns for sure in June. Molson is in the Bar at the moment, but we will see how that plays out. No one wants to be paying over $5 for a beer, I know that much. We’ll keep it cheap.”