The Northside Bar and Grille, once voted the best live music venue in Akron and Canton, is closing.
But the show will go on with a new owner.
“It’s moving forward,” said Michael Owen, who co-founded Northside in 1995 in downtown Akron as a blues and jazz club. “It’s ready to take its next step with a new operator.”
Jill Bacon Madden, one of the owners of telecommunications company PlusOne Communications, bought the building last month from Owen and his partners.
Madden knows the area well. She had served as the Northside entertainment director when the North Main Street club first opened.
“She’s a great lady,” Owen said. “She has a real good understanding of the music scene and background in music. We’re really excited. It’s going to be a really wonderful fit to have her energy in the neighborhood.”
Madden, reached by phone Monday, declined to discuss her specific plans.
Owen, who also declined to reveal the plans, said that music venues should be blown up and reinvented every 20 years or so. Before becoming Northside, the brick building next door to the famous Luigi’s pizza restaurant was Cavanaugh’s, an Irish music bar that became a rock club.
The 3,878-square-foot building, constructed in 1913, is appraised by Summit County at $178,220. County tax records available online don’t state the recent sale price.
The Northside business was sold several years ago and is a tenant at the building, Owen said.
Madden will join a Northside neighborhood that’s extremely different from when partners Owen, Rockne Becker and Brad Miller opened the Northside Bar.
Owen estimated there has been about $100 million worth of investment in the neighborhood, citing the upscale Northside Lofts and Towpath Trail projects.
He also chuckled that the “Northside” name now defines the neighborhood. Everyone thinks it’s a historical Akron name, but it’s not, he said.
The Northside district logo actually was a rip-off of the Seattle Mariners logo, which the owners thought was cool while watching the Cleveland Indians battle the Mariners in the American League Championship in 1995.
“We’re really thankful for the run that we have had,” Owen said.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or firstname.lastname@example.org.