The much-anticipated Sweetwater Music Hall – a community gathering place and live music venue dedicated to bringing back the Sweetwater’s musical legacy to Mill Valley – opened in late January of 2012. The opening of Sweetwater Music Hall marked a rebirth of the landmark roots music venue and Bay Area treasure originally opened on November 17, 1972. A local venture that is comprised of multiple investors including Bob Weir (Grateful Dead, Furthur) and other longtime supporters of the club, the Sweetwater Music Hall is a state-of-the-art nightclub and café that not only presents nationally recognized top-quality entertainment but also will provide a comfortable home venue for local and emerging talent to perform and experiment. Through its intimate setting, the club is designed to be both a neighborhood hangout as well as a world-class entertainment destination employing cutting-edge Meyer Sound and streaming video technology capable of bringing exceptional live events to broader audiences. “For years, the Sweetwater was the place many of us local and visiting musicians headed to when we were looking to play for fun,” said Weir. “Well, our clubhouse is back – and it belongs to all of us. Woo hoo – Mill Valley finally has its playpen back! Here we go…”
Located in the Masonic Hall at 19 Corte Madera Avenue in Mill Valley, the Sweetwater Music Hall offers food, drinks, and a broad spectrum of live music and entertainment, including Open Mic Mondays with Marin County keys player Austin DeLone. The space is also available for private events. In addition to entertainment, the Sweetwater Music Hall includes a full-service restaurant and on-site catering led by renowned chef-restaurateur Gordon Drysdale (Pizza Antica, Café de Amis), who offers artfully crafted, fresh, locally sourced and organic fare. At the soft-service café, initial orders are taken at the counter and served by staff. The Café serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and also offers a live music Sunday Brunch. The full service espresso bar serves a variety of teas as well as super-premium coffee from Stumptown Coffee Roasters.
Over its 40-year history, the original Sweetwater hosted performances by artists including Weir, Carlos Santana, Clarence Clemons, Elvis Costello, Gregg Allman, Huey Lewis, Jerry Garcia, Maria Muldaur, Sammy Hagar, Richie Havens and many other musical luminaries. In 1992, BBC Television shot a documentary at the club featuring Bonnie Raitt, John Lee Hooker and Ry Cooder. That same year, Hot Tuna recorded two live albums at the Sweetwater. The new club intends to carry on this storied tradition.
The first floor of the 107-year-old Masonic Lodge No. 356 in Mill Valley underwent an extensive renovation and has been transformed into a live music venue and café evoking the deconstructed elegance of a grand old home. Arriving at Sweetwater Music Hall, guests will walk through a courtyard and enter the café through four black French doors flanked by two courtyard lanterns.
The café features an open kitchen and espresso bar, with classic French bistro tables and café chairs as well as a U-shaped pistachio-hued banquette. Walls dressed in exposed brick and warm camel color frame the space, while three chandeliers hang languidly from the high ceiling. Moving into the music hall, guests are welcomed by an inviting ambience marked by a blend of comfort, rawness, beautiful touches and hidden acoustics. Guests may choose between standing room or limited seating options that include a long deep burgundy velvet and leather-tufted banquette; cocktail tables and chairs in black and brass; generously sized drink ledges that double as seating; and at the back bar, elevated seating that provides great sight lines across the music hall. Walls cloaked in antiqued burlap wallpaper with stenciled gold transition seamlessly to the coved ceiling, which reveals exposed wood joist and pin-spot lighting at its center. Sound panels are fashioned as decorative wall panels, while Moroccan wall sconces, black casework and black drapery accent the space throughout.
Those who frequented the original Sweetwater venue may notice two memorable pieces of artwork: two much-loved mermaid paintings that have been retrieved for display at Sweetwater Music Hall.
Sweetwater Music Hall proudly supports the San Francisco Bay Area Musicians Fund, the regional chapter of Sweet Relief Musicians Fund. A portion of all ticket sales will be donated to the non-profit charity organization, which provides financial assistance to all types of career musicians who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability or age-related problems.