Music News & Reviews

Ace of Spades team plans to open new midtown music venue – and introduce Tacklebox bar

A new venue called Holy Diver is set to take over The Starlite space on 21st Street in Sacramento.
A new venue called Holy Diver is set to take over The Starlite space on 21st Street in Sacramento. apayne@sacbee.com

It’s been two months since the Starlite Lounge, a bar and live-music venue on 21st Street in midtown, closed its doors. But it appears the space won’t remain dark for much longer.

The team behind Ace of Spades and Goldfield Trading Post are planning to open another music venue called Holy Diver in the two-story building at 1517 21st St. later this year, said Bret Bair, who manages Ace of Spades along with Eric Rushing.

Bair, Rushing and partner Anthony Paganelli already have secured a lease for Holy Diver and are in the process of securing a liquor license, Bair said. The venue likely will open in October at the earliest, Bair said, and have a capacity under 300 people.

“We do need a small music venue to put the up-and-coming national acts as well as local shows,” Bair said. “We’ll do all genres of music from rock to reggae to hip-hop to indie-alt music.”

Bair and Rushing pulled out of booking duties at the Boardwalk in Orangevale late last year and since have shifted some of those smaller acts to midtown’s Goldfield. The new venue will take on a variety of genres and allow Goldfield to preserve its country theme.

“A lot of small music venues (around Sacramento) have been closing, and it’s because in all honesty they’re very difficult to operate – there’s just a lot of costs,” Bair said. “While we always want quality shows, we also need quantity, and the only way you get quantity is by doing all kinds of shows.”

Starlite, which was known for heavy metal shows but attracted a variety of national and international acts, closed its doors in June. Shortly after, the Naked Lounge coffee shop downtown announced it was hosting its last live music show.

Starlite opened in 2013 and occupied the building that previously hosted the Townhouse Lounge. Bair said he and Rushing actually tried to acquire the venue when it was still the Townhouse, drawn by the location and the space. He added Holy Diver might try to revive the downstairs electronic dance music sessions that occurred at the Townhouse.

“It’s a great space for seeing small bands,” Bair said.

Earlier this year, Bair and Rushing announced they would be opening a venue called Holy Dive Bar, which would take over The Cinders tavern on Auburn Boulevard. But he and Rushing ran into difficulties getting permits for the place, Bair said. In the meantime, the Starlite building became available.

Bair said he and Rushing bought The Cinders and do plan to hold some live music events there – limited to 10 days a year – starting next year, when the name will change to Tacklebox.

Holy Diver, which takes its name from a Dio album, will be primarily a music venue but also operate as a bar and serve food, Bair said. A menu concept is in the works.

The new owners are “not going to do a major remodel” of the interior, Bair said, but opening day could be pushed back to November depending on how quickly the space comes together.

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