Put on your cowboy hat and boots and get ready for a bit of Nashville right here in Worcester.
Off the Rails, the country-themed restaurant and bar at 90 Commercial St. that opened last summer, has officially opened its indoor-outdoor live music venue in an extension behind the restaurant. The 4,200 square foot venue opened last week with performances by Sawyer Brown and Grafton native Ricky Duran, and an open house was held on Tuesday for local businesspeople to take a look. look around the space while enjoying the music of the country trio Texas Hill.
“We have a really unique location in downtown Worcester,” said Eric Lindquist, communications director for Off the Rails. “There aren’t many outdoor venues.”
The venue can accommodate over 500 guests between the indoor space and beer garden and patio, which are connected by large garage-style doors. A dedicated bar awaits at the back of the room, and 12 high tables sit on one side for guests who wish to reserve a place to sit, while the rest of the space is reserved for standing room.
The venue’s decor matches its theme, with brick walls, gleaming reclaimed wood floors, barrel and mason jar chandeliers, and a wooden American flag hanging above the bar.
“The idea is to bring domestic country acts to Worcester,” Lindquist said. “We quietly spread the word, but now that the word is out, people are excited about this space.”
In addition to local and national acts, Thursday night line dancing and private events, Lindquist said the venue will partner with the nearby Palladium, offering its patio as a VIP space for outdoor performances.
Johnny Gates, a Nashville-based singer from Providence who opened for Texas Hill during Tuesday night’s performance, told the audience he was happy to perform there.
“When I was in high school, I used to go to a lot of shows at the Palladium,” he said, pointing to the open garage doors of the other building. “It’s cool to play here.”
Dan Jordan, Deputy Managing Director and Talent Buyer of Off the Rails, said the venue fills an empty niche within Worcester’s live music scene.
“There hasn’t been a place that caters to Americana, country crossover or indie music. The Palladium is not built for that,” Jordan said. “It fuels that need, especially because COVID has shut everything down. Most of the independent sites have collapsed.
Lindquist said the opening was very exciting.
“There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears,” he said. “It’s good to see it come to fruition.”
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