The downtown Fort Worth venue Queen City Music Hall, once hailed as a possible game-changer for the local music scene, has officially closed.
Co-owner Randy Butler confirmed the closure Wednesday afternoon, saying, “Queen City’s already closed, and has been closed for a while.” (Butler led a group of investors that included comedians Steve McGrew and JR Brow, as well as Pantera’s Vinny Paul Abbott, according to Central Track.)
The building that housed the Lone Star Live entertainment complex, a stone’s throw from Bass Hall and where the Cheesecake Factory now does a brisk business, is going to be converted into retail space, when Swedish clothing company H&M moves in at some future point.
Queen City Music Hall, a basement-level space with a capacity of 1,000, opened for business in June 2013 with some hefty expectations, thanks in part to local booking agency and primary QCMH booker Blackbox Presents: “We’re modeling it after Caravan of Dreams more than anything else,” Blackbox’s Jamie Knight told the Dallas Observer that year. “We ... have pulled concepts and ideas from lots of amazing places from [the] 9:30 Club in Washington D.C. to the great Dallas venues we all respect.”
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Chris Maunder, former owner of Berry Street bar the Moon, was brought on in Aug. 2013 as general manager and to handle “show coordination.”
But apart from a couple high-profile tours (Lisa Marie Presley played the space twice, in Sept. 2013 and March of last year) and a weekly singer-songwriter showcase hosted by Luke Wade, Queen City Music Hall never really materialized into the mid-sized concert nirvana it aspired to be, with the bookings slowing to almost nothing last summer.
“We starting doing random shows,” Butler says. “There were a few shows we knew would draw for us and make money for us, so we booked a couple of those, like the Dick Beldings, a few of those local cover bands that draw really well, but other than that, we got totally off booking anything else that we felt like was going to cost us money. The music bidness is one hard bidness.”
Butler says the space won’t sit dormant for long.
In addition to H&M’s impending arrival, Sundance Square is footing the bill for a complete, custom-built renovation of the facade and interior to create a brand new, Hyena’s-branded comedy club and karaoke lounge, which will ultimately sit directly beneath the Cheesecake Factory.
Sundance Square spokesperson Tracy Gilmour confirmed the renovations and relocation are and will be taking place, although no firm dates are set.
As for Queen City Music Hall’s roughly 18-month run, Butler, who added that Hyena’s will soon open a Plano location, feels no bitterness.
“I’m not frustrated from the standpoint of ‘It’s always been my lifelong ambition to own a music venue,’” he says. “I’m a comedy club guy; I love comedy. That’s what I do; that’s what my passion is. This square footage fell into my lap and I had to think of something. So all that in mind, the end result is going to be Hyena’s has an incredibly beautiful comedy showroom now. Sundance Square is really doing it up for us and it’s going to be incredible.”
Preston Jones, 817-390-7713