Local music venue scheduled for grand reopening


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Photo by Enrico Cabredo |

The Court Tavern, located on 124 Church St., is currently under renovation. The new owner, Michael Barrood, already owns the New Brunswick restaurant Mike’s Courtside Bar and Grill.


Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Alkaline Trio will be performing at the reopening of The Court Tavern. It will not.

The Court Tavern, a New Brunswick bar and music venue that closed in January, will be back in business starting in November.

Previous owner Bob Albert managed The Court Tavern for 30 years before he suddenly closed it in January. Michael Barrood, who purchased the bar in May, said he does not know the reason for the closure.

But Barrood, owner of Mike’s Courtside Sports Bar and Grill, said the tavern’s reopening is scheduled for Nov. 3.

After purchasing The Court Tavern, Barrood said local residents began to circulate rumors about his future plans for the venue.

“When people found out I was reopening The Court Tavern, everyone was pretty happy,” Barrood said. “There was a big demand for it. A lot of the regulars and locals wanted to keep the live music scene, so I think they will be happy that it is here.”

Russell Marchetta, New Brunswick city spokesperson, said The Court Tavern enjoyed a popular following that stretched back to the ’70s and ’80s.

“It’s been around a long time,” Marchetta said. “It is a landmark in New Brunswick — it’s nice to have it opening up again.”

Rocky Catanese, a member of Let Me Run, said his band often performed at The Court Tavern while it was under previous ownership.

“It was notorious, it had a reputation,” said Catanese. “Once I started doing shows there, it became one of the only bars in town I wanted to go to.”

Catanese believes that a lot of other music lovers are also looking forward to the reopening of the bar.

“Knowing that someone wanted to come in and keep The Court Tavern … as a live music venue is what did it for me,” he said. “Even if people are taken aback by the changes … I think they are still interested and excited that it is going to be back.”

Barrood said it is too soon to tell who will be playing at the bar in the future or if he will regularly book acts to perform.

“I’m going to try a little different music here and there to see what works best,” he said.

The renovations being made to The Court Tavern are mostly cosmetic, as it has not been updated enough since it opened 30 years ago, Barrood said.

“It was really rundown,” he said.

Barrood has also obtained a liquor license for The Court Tavern and said he plans to add a private party room with new televisions on the second floor that will live stream the bands performing downstairs.

Other bar owners in the area, like Peter Tumulty, owner of Tumulty’s Pub on George Street, are welcoming the reopening of The Court Tavern.

Tumulty said he remembers when his father used to take him to The Court Tavern when he was a child and is excited to be able to step through the doors once again.

“I think it is great that it is opening again. It has a unique history in town,” Tumulty said. “I understand the new owners are going to try to feature live music just like the old restaurant did. I think it is wonderful for downtown and the city.”

But Neil Glass, owner of Harvest Moon Brewery Cafe, said he feels many people will be indifferent to the Court Tavern’s re-entry into the city.

“Bars and restaurants come and go all the time,” Glass said. “The music scene is long gone. I don’t think it’s coming back.”

Marchetta said he believes the reopening of The Court Tavern can only have a positive impact on New Brunswick.

“New Brunswick has so much to offer — theaters, restaurants, the University, the public library, the Zimmerli Art Museum. The Court Tavern will be another reason to come to the city,” Marchetta said. “We look forward to the opening of The Court Tavern and we wish Barrood well in his endeavors.”

Barrood hopes his hard work will pay off when The Court Tavern is complete and open for business.

“This process entails a little bit of everything — putting the building, the licenses and the construction all together. It’s not difficult, just very time-consuming,” he said.

Barrood said he is excited for the venue’s opening day, because that is when the fun will start.

 “The best part is when it opens and everyone likes it and it’s a success,” he said.

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