Friday, February 8, 2013

Hi-Ho Lounge gets facelift, new ownership

Posted By on Fri, Feb 8, 2013 at 5:10 PM

The Happy Talk Band inside Hi-Ho Lounge.
  • The Happy Talk Band inside Hi-Ho Lounge.

The St. Claude Avenue spot Hi-Ho Lounge has changed hands to partners Jeff Bromberger and Russ and Brian Greiner, the trio behind the popular multi-stage Frenchmen Street venue Maison. The Stooges Brass Band was renting the space since last year with plans to buy it — the band held down a regular Thursday night gig at the bar. But for the last few weeks, the Maison crew has slowly started making changes, like updating the stage lighting rig, adding a new soundboard and hanging new artwork, before making the new ownership official.

"We're not going to change too much," Brian Greiner said. "We're going to keep it Hi-Ho Lounge."

With Maison, the partners stick to a hefty nightly lineup of mostly jazz, brass and funk bands, with occasional buzz bands (most recently, Dan Deacon and Purity Ring). "People on Frenchmen are looking for jazz and brass," Greiner said. At Hi-Ho Lounge, the venue will also feature familiar New Orleans acts but focus on "doing a lot of stuff that's emerging," acting a medium-sized venue for nationally touring acts that may not want to squeeze into Circle Bar but are not yet ready for a venue as big as One Eyed Jacks. Its March calendar features Wu-Tang Clan familiars Cappadonna and Masta Killa, as well as events helmed by Winter Circle Productions, which oversees The Buku Music + Art Project and a Twin Shadow gig at Maison.

The partners also plan to open the venue's kitchen and serve grilled cheese and pressed sandwiches and a late-night breakfast menu. (The Wandering Buddha recently moved out of the kitchen where it served its vegan Korean menu — it'll reopen in April at a new location.) It'll also be a neighborhood-friendly bar on music off-nights, with happy hours, drink specials, movie screenings, trivia nights and crawfish boils.

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