By DAVID DUPONT
BG Independent News
The new operators of the 91-year-old Clazel in downtown in Bowling Green are not looking to teach the old venue new tricks.
This summer Darrin and Cierra Karcher, of Findlay, purchased the Clazel business from Ammar Mufleh, who retains ownership of the building and property.
The vision for the venue spelled out by John Carroll, the general manager, follows along the lines of what Mufleh did from the time he purchased the old theater in mid-2008.
He ran the club nights on Fridays and Saturdays until last December when he stopped them out of concern for the wear-and-tear on the theater and his staff.
Now the late night lights and DJs are back.
Carroll worked security and on other projects for the Clazel since 2011. “I have a lot of respect for the building and definitely want to make sure it’s taken care of.”
The Karchers, Carroll said, who own several bars in Findlay and Upper Sandusky, were interested in branching out. This will be the first night club the couple will operate.
The Clazel continues to be available for weddings, corporate meetings and parties, and fundraisers. “The big one being Fire and Ice,” a February benefit for the American Red Cross, Carroll said.
Working with A.L. Entertainment, the owners are also bringing back regular live music to the Clazel.
Carroll said that the Columbus-based jam band ekoostik hookah was interested in hosting a holiday show at the venue. That show will be Friday, Dec. 8 and also feature Tropidelic, Rustik Waters, and Tree No Leaves.
Leading up to the December show, the club is hosting a series of concerts featuring bands who play “in a similar vein” to ekoostik
hookah. Some of these bands, Carroll said, have opened for ekoostik hookah or worked with them in other places.
The next show will be Thursday, Nov. 2, featuring Vibe and Direct, followed by a Nov. 16 concert by Funk Factory.
The idea is to give a platform for local and regional band, and put a spark back into Bowling Green’s local music scene, Carroll said.
“The ultimate goal is to make the Clazel a destination for regional music,” Carroll said.
He sees the venue’s efforts as complementary to what’s happening at Howard’s a block away. Together they can offer a full weekend of music.
So far the reception has been good with performers expressing interest in working there.
The old theater will continue its relationship with Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts, which occasionally presents concerts in the venue. The most recent was last Thursday as part of the New Music and Arts Festival.
Carroll, a 2009 BGSU graduate in criminal justice, will be the local face of the business. He ran the Phone and GameSource store across the street. That business has now shifted its inventory to its Fremont location.
He and the Karchers want to maintain the Clazel as a vital part of Bowling Green. “I love the town. It feels like home,” Carroll said.
“I hope people realize we’re not just the night club on Friday and Saturday nights,” Carroll said. “We want to reach out to the community and be something that can have a positive impact on all the downtown business not just ours. … We want to turn this into a place where people of all ages want to go to have a good time.”