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The SCENE Magazine

Katie’s Bar: Extraordinary Music in an Intimate Setting

Jan 31, 2020 07:00PM
In 2004, Bob Emmons, a life-long musician and native Houstonian, and his wife Katie were riding their Harley down Grand Avenue in Bacliff when they noticed a “For Sale” sign in front of the old Bacliff post office building. They instantly thought it would make the perfect live music venue so they bought the place and built it out, setting the stage to become one of the region’s top places to enjoy bands — many you’ve never heard of going in, and loved coming out — in an intimate setting.

For more than 16 years now, Bob, who previously worked for the highly respected Martin Guitars, has been booking the bands and bringing in talented acts from as far away as Germany to mix with the top local acts and those with ties to the Austin live music scene, the Chicago record scene and wherever great performers can be found. 

But Bob is quick to point out the local music scene in Texas and Louisiana is quite strong. “The talent is out there. If some of these musicians came around at a different time, they would be famous,” said Bob.

With national level touring acts playing regularly each month, such as Van Wilks, Alan Haynes, Mike Zito and Josh Garrett, it’s no wonder Katie’s has become a well-known music venue to fans and musicians alike. 

Bob said, “I get calls from musicians who learned about us from other musicians at festivals or out on the road. So I do a lot of research. Luckily now a days everyone is on YouTube.” He explained how he truly only wants to bring the best to Katie’s.

According to Bob, some audience members come from as far away or further than some of the bands to catch certain acts that play at Katie’s. Like for Jordan Mathew Young, who is playing on Saturday, February 8. “No body knew who he was when we first had him come here,” he said, “But, boy, do they know who he is now!”

On Sundays, from 4 to 8 p.m., Katie’s hosts a jam session. “It’s not your average jam session,” Bob said. “We have a different guest guitarist hosting it each week. Top musicians like Mark May, Jay Hooks, Paul Ramirez and Ricky Jackson. We play a short set together for about an hour and then let other musicians jump on stage and jam with us.” That’s a pretty big deal to be able to jam on stage with such seasoned players.

Whether it's a local act, or national touring act, one thing is always certain at Katie’s: They offer live music five nights a week. Wednesday through Sunday, there is a band playing on stage no matter what. And their group of loyal regulars, along with their friendly staff will make you feel at home the minute you walk in the door.

Check out their ad in this issue of The SCENE for their February lineup or visit their website: www.katiesbar.com for more information.

INSIDER TIP: If you don’t recognize the name on the Katie’s marquee, there is a good chance it is a show to see. SCENE music columnist Andy Eng has a time-tested theory proven over and over again that if an act shows up on the Katie’s calendar that he hasn’t heard of, chances are it is a show not to be missed and likely a touring act from out-of-state. Co-owner and musician Bob Emmons does not mess around when it comes to booking live music at Katie’s. “I put in the time to learn what I can about these acts, but often, even I’m blown away,” Emmons explained. 

INSIDER TIP #2: Although Katie’s is surrounded by a lot or great restaurants, they do have a small kitchen offering a range of items from pizza to wings to egg rolls to ensure one doesn’t need to miss any of the show if the stomach starts growling.
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