New venue The Berkley to feature local music, food; Wilco tonight…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , — @ 1:44 pm November 20, 2019

Future location of restaurant/music venue The Berkley.

by Tim McMahan,

The Berkley is a new live music venue / restaurant that’s opening in January at 1901 Leavenworth, the building that used to house Connections and is just a door down from where the first Milk Run was located, with Shuck’s on the opposite end.

It’s the brainchild of Amelia Drake and Deb Sauls. You might remember Amelia from the post-wave duo Drakes Hotel, a band that included her husband, Christopher Yanulis (and if you don’t, here’s a reminder from 2007).

Drake said she and Sauls are going full force on renovating the space, and at the same time, she’s figuring out the kind of music The Berkley will host.

“We’re looking for lower-decibel bands like singer-songwriter or small piece acts,” Drake said. “We are going to be a little different from other venues in town in that we are primarily a restaurant. So, musicians may find performing with us similar to playing a supper club. I’m hoping to attract talent that would be comfortable playing in a coffeehouse circa 1995.”

She’s working with local musician Virginia Kathryn Gallner to book bands. “She’s given me a formidable list of local acts to check out. I’m still making my way through them,” Drake said, adding that she only just moved back to Omaha in June. In addition, she’s reaching out to an Ohio connection who books national acts to try and piggyback on bands passing by Omaha.

Drake said The Berkley will only book music Friday and Saturday nights while it fine-tunes its service. It’ll also host youth acts on weekend days (likely Sunday) “to give young musicians an opportunity to cut their teeth on our stage.”

I think they’ll have no problem finding singer/songwriters to book, but I’m hoping they branch out to more acts like, well, Drakes Hotel. It’ll be interesting to see how the bookings evolve.

No doubt it’s a unique neighborhood to start a business. I remember parking being a bit of a challenge, but I’m told they’re reconfiguring the venue’s back lot for additional parking — who remembers that back lot when the Milk Run was in operation?

To keep track on The Berkley’s progress, follow them on Facebook, here.

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Tonight is the big Wilco show at The Orpheum Theatre. One assumes this is the type of concert Omaha Performing Arts intends to book in the proposed new $109 million music venue to be built next to the Holland.

That said, this show is far from sold out. Tickets were still available — including a ton of $45 balcony and $70 orchestra seats.

Tuomo & Markus, “a Helsinki Finland based musical group founded by renowned Finnish soul artist and jazz musician Tuomo Prättälä and singer/songwriter Markus Nordenstreng from Finnish rock band The Latebirds,” kicks things off at 7:30 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.