The Khyber turns into sushi bar?

    Indie rock venue re-invents itself

    Rock and roll may never die – but it died in Old City. Throughout the 1980’s and 90’s, ground zero for indie rock in Philadelphia was the Khyber, a dive bar painted black inside and out which many national touring acts could not afford to pass by. It will soon be a sushi bar.

    Technically, it’s an Izakaya. If you’ve never heard of an Izakaya, you’re not alone. Owner Stephen Simons explains.

    “It’s a Japanese drinking room. Started as hole in the wall places. They started serving small bites. In the last 100 years they have become traditions. Sort of like Japanese tapas.”

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    Back in the day, the music room witnessed Smashing Pumpkins and Flaming Lips and countless acts that went on to become staples of modern rock. But for 10 years the night life on 2nd street has gone upscale, leaving little room for a grungy rock and roll bar.

    In other cities when the neighborhood gentrified, the rock bar closes. But that didn’t happen, because I own the building, and I didn’t raise the rent. Old City is not the right location for an indie rock bar.

    Simons says he hasn’t yet decided on a name for the new bar, scheduled to open in mid-September. He says there will be no renovations, just some much-needed cleaning and painting.

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