Although San Diego is not known as much of a jazz town, Anthology, a restaurant/music venue opening June 6, could change that. Located in Little Italy between A and Ash streets, Anthology is a stylistic nod to the supper clubs of the '40s and will attempt to bring in an upscale clientele with national jazz acts such as Chick Corea, Lee Ritenour, and the Yellowjackets amongst the first bookings.
Seating 125 diners or 600 standing-room patrons, the 13,000-square-foot, two-floor site is owned by Howard Berkstrom. Michael Pritchard will function as director of music operations. This is Berkstrom's first nightspot, but Pritchard was manager and booker with Humphrey's Backstage Lounge for eight years, until 2006. Pritchard got the job after Berkstrom's first choice -- former Humphrey's main-stage booker Kenny Weissberg -- declined the offer.
Though the lack of jazz-oriented venues in San Diego might be considered an indication of limited audience potential, Pritchard says, "San Diego has gotten a lot more 'metropolitan' in the last few years, and there is now a larger population looking for this sort of entertainment. Its time has come."
In addition to the regular music concerts, there will be "late-night jam sessions" in the club's upstairs lounge on weekend nights beginning at midnight.
Like most of San Diego, Little Italy has seen a population increase in the past decade, but Pritchard doesn't anticipate any of the same noise problems with neighbors that have plagued other area venues such as the Beauty Bar and San Diego Sports Club.
"In actuality, where the club sits isn't zoned residential; we don't have any immediate contact points with area residents." Yet, "There has been a lot of acoustical engineering work done on the venue."
While the club will be open to music besides jazz, not all genres will be welcome. "No hip-hop, no rap, no death-metal," says Pritchard.