The all-age Bean Bar, located in a former McDonald's near the Sports Arena (across from Les Girls), has hosted live bands for seven months. Recently, a singer/guitarist said his band declined an offer to play because the 250-capacity venue "charges everybody $10 to get in. Then, for the first 15 people who come in, the band gets nothing. The band gets a buck for every person after that.... You can't expect bands to come back when you give them such a small percentage of the actual income."
Matthew Ibarra, the Bean Bar's entertainment director, says tickets cost $8...unless a touring band is headlining; and the bands get their buck a head after ten paying customers. Using that formula, if a local band brings in 50 fans that pay $8 each, the band gets $40 (10 percent) while the house keeps $360.
"We're trying to run a business right now, and that's what we have to do," says Ibarra, who points out that overhead (P.A. system, security crew, sound men, and stage hands) costs.
"The Casbah can sell alcohol, so they can make extra money," says Ibarra. "The most expensive coffee drink we have is $3.50. We're an independent coffee shop, and we want to help bands and give back to the local community.... We have been getting comments [from other bands]. I spoke to the owner about it. He wants to start selling beer and wine."
Local bands such as First Wave Hello, Hot Like a Robot, and Plastic Explosive have played the Bean Bar. "Our first signed band was Daphne Loves Derby, from Seattle," says Ibarra. "We've had calls from [labels] like the Militia Group, Equalvision, and Eyeball Records."