When Forest Glen moved to Philadelphia in 1998 and started a band, one of the first venues he played at was the Grape Room – then known as the Grape Street Pub.
Last April, the Grape Room re-opened under the ownership of Brian “Scooter” Hassinger, who has steered the new Grape Room to be a Manayunk hot spot for all music, live and local.
Glen now lives within walking distance of the Grape Room, and still performs there 14 years after his first show at the venue.
He and his band, The Byways played at the Grape Room last Saturday. He often stops by the Grape Room’s open mic nights on Mondays to promote his upcoming shows.
“It’s nice to play at a club whose first priority is still music,” Glen says.
Open mic night at the Grape Room offers musicians a chance to play about three songs and enjoy $2 Lionshead bottles from 8 to 10 p.m. It’s hosted by Steph Hayes, a Philadelphia songwriter who plays with Hassinger in Stargazer Lily.
Hayes met one of her future band mates in Stargazer Lilly while performing at an open mic night in 1994, and their musical collaboration continues to this day. It has spawned a few side projects too.
Hayes says she sees similar relationships and synergetic moments born on the Grape Room stage every Monday for open mic night.
“I can sing harmonies for every song that some people play,” she says, referring to repeat performers.
“A lot of people stick their noses up when they hear of open mics, but it’s nothing to scoff at,” says John Dutton, 24, of Audubon, NJ. Dutton, a substitute teacher and songwriter outside of the classroom, played the Grape Room’s open mic night on April 22 to promote his show scheduled for that weekend at the Grape Room.
“Everyone was really amiable and friendly,” said Dutton. “I would definitely go back.”
Tonight’s Open Mic Night starts at 8:30 p.m. at 105 Grape St. in Manayunk.