Local Music Vibe

Local Music Vibe


[video] A tiny peek at Fenix, San Rafael CA's newest live music venue (coming 2012) - with Merl Saunders Jr

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - 7:05pm

Coming in 2012 ~ This unique dining, beverage and live music venue inaugurates something new in downtown San Rafael.

Stay tuned to Local Music Vibe for more sneak peeks...


Excerpted from the Marin Independent Journal:

New supper club with live music to open in downtown San Rafael
By Jessica Bernstein-Wax
Posted: 01/10/2012 05:51:13 PM PST

A new restaurant/bar and live music venue is slated to open its doors in the former See's Candies building in downtown San Rafael this spring.

Workers are renovating the 1920s-era building at 919 Fourth St. so that the Fenix Supper Club may open sometime in the next few months, said Merl Saunders Jr., the club's general manager.

"It's a kind of a specialty intimate space where you can see some of your favorite people up close," Saunders said. "This is something I think is needed in Marin."

Fenix will feature live music from national and local performers in a variety of genres including rock, blues, Americana, bluegrass, gospel, jazz and Latin, Saunders said. The club will also stream performances on its website, fenixlive.com.

Executive chef Amey Shaw will be running the kitchen creating "globally inspired" entrees with organic ingredients, Saunders said. Many of the dishes will be gluten free.

The club's bar will serve up a range of wines and specialty cocktails.

Owner Laura van Galen plans to open a nonprofit for local youth called the Fenix Music Academy next year as part of the project, said Saunders, a longtime music industry executive and former Grammy Awards director who will run the academy.

The music academy will mentor and support young musicians primarily from Marin County.

Van Galen bought the building in October 2010 for about $1.6 million, according to documents


the club filed with the city last year. The Fenix Supper Club will occupy some 6,600 square feet in the two-story building.
Fenix is expected to generate 25 to 40 jobs, the documents state. Hiring will begin in a month or so, according to Saunders.

In September the club received city approval for exterior changes to the building and a use permit after Design Review Board and zoning administrator hearings, said Katie Korzun, San Rafael's economic development coordinator.

"The building is on our (historic) list and the Design Review Board took a look at it and said what they were doing was highlighting and improving the character of it," Korzun said. "The ground floor area has been substantially remodeled — See's Candies had a metal front put on there. The two upper floors still look pretty much the way they did when it was built back in the '20s."

With Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh's announcement last week that he will open a musical home called Terrapin Crossroads and a concert hall in the Seafood Peddler restaurant space and adjacent Palm Ballroom, 2012 is shaping up to be an exciting year for music in San Rafael, city officials said. Mayor Gary Phillips pointed to BioMarin's recent announcement that it will move hundreds of workers to the San Rafael Corporate Center as another boon for the city.

"The goal is to make San Rafael an even more vibrant night life and entertainment destination by attracting a range of dining and entertainment options," Councilman Damon Connolly said. "We have Terrapin Crossroads with Phil Lesh coming in, the reopening of George's (Nightclub), Fenix Supper Club — we've got some great dining options.

"We're really hoping that San Rafael becomes a destination spot," he added. "You can envision someone coming into town for a good meal, then some music, perhaps a show."

Contact Jessica Bernstein-Wax at jbernstein-wax@marinij.com


venues mentioned

919 4th Street
San Rafael, CA 94901