“I heard from one of our customers that the Zombie Lounge was going to be for sale,” says Chris Heaney, owner/operator of the Kadan in North Park. Heaney is now the principal owner of the Zombie Lounge on El Cajon Boulevard.
“I get calls every day from bands who want to play Kadan. But I don’t like having bands there. It’s like having someone play in your living room; I don’t have room to put up a stage.”
After July 1, the Zombie Lounge will be known as the Radio Room. Though Zombie talent buyer Ziggy will continue to book the bands, Heaney has had plenty of experience.
In the early ’90s, along with copromoter Tim Hall, Heaney presented local artists such as Lucy’s Fur Coat, Jewel, and Bad Radio (including Eddie Vedder) and national acts such as the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and Blue Öyster Cult.
Heaney says he wants the Radio Room to be a local venue that will attract touring bands.
“I want to have a really good sound system so that after [touring bands] play here to 50 people they will leave with a good taste in their mouth and want to play here again.”
Heaney will give four Kadan bartenders the opportunity to have a stake in bar ownership at the Radio Room.
“We set up a venture-capital account at Kadan where dedicated employees could invest $200 a month. I got the idea from the Antique Grove Café across the street. It gives me an opportunity to take bartenders to the next level. Bartenders usually don’t care about retirement accounts.”
Heaney and Hall bought the Spirit Club and renamed it Brick by Brick in 1994. He says he left five years later because Hall moved to Florida “…and I didn’t want to deal with the [third] partner.”
– Ken Leighton