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Thank God (and the Irenic) for new all-ages venue

Building Bridges in Clairemont Mesa

Kyle Mcmillan: led by the Creator to make a space for creators.
Kyle Mcmillan: led by the Creator to make a space for creators.

Kyle Mcmillan has lived in San Diego continuously since 1993, and he’s been involved in local music for almost that entire time — as a musician, booker, and manager. Now he’s opening a new all-ages club, Bridges, in Clairemont Mesa, and he’s adamant that a higher power inspired him.

“I’ll have to say God led me to open up. While managing the Irenic, I always maintained a great relationship with the promoters I was working with. When I heard the Irenic shut down, I prayed and sent out an email to the promoters, letting them know I was still interested in hosting shows with them. When I got the greenlight from them, I started to get to work, to establish my own thing, and that’s how Bridges came about. I partnered with my buddy-pastor Lance [Sherwood] at Communion Church, and we started our journey together as a church-event and concert venue. At the moment, my twin brother Kendrick McMillan is managing the venue, but I handle the day-to-day business side of things.”

Place

Bridges

6555 Balboa Avenue, San Diego

So while God may have had a hand in the matter, networking helped, too. “I met Lance in, I believe, 2015, while managing the Irenic. He came to do some recordings in the studio I built out on the campus there. I reached out to an amazing artist by the name of Haley Montgomery. I remembered she was connected to some churches that were interested in doing community events and concerts. That one phone call changed my whole life. She said, ‘Kyle, get over to this new church that’s getting built,’ and what do you know, it was Lance’s church. Lance saw the work I was doing at Irenic while he was doing that recording project, and he was like, ‘Yes, bring all that over to my church.’”

The Bridges club serves no alcohol, but Mcmillan plans on providing “some of San Diego’s best food, coffee, and dessert vendors at every show.” He also promises to have four highly-trained and certified guards at every show, monitoring the stage, crowd control, and outside grounds. Capacity runs to 225 seated, 425-450 standing.

As for the name, “Lance and I sat around talking about names to call the venue. He started talking about how he wanted to bridge the gap between the church and the music community in San Diego. He wants his facility grounds to be [a] hub for young creatives and creators. He wants people from all walks of life to feel comfortable, loved, and welcome when they come to shows. I immediately said, ‘That’s it, Bridges is the name,’ and that was that. The message behind the name matters the most, because I feel the same way, about church and the music community.”

All-ages clubs can be difficult to navigate legally, but Mcmillan avows that he didn’t have much trouble in that department. “Getting the permits actually wasn’t a challenge. The officer connected to that community was actually excited that something like this is coming to the area. After this pandemic, people are going to want a safe space to relax and enjoy some great music and community with friends and family.”

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Kyle Mcmillan: led by the Creator to make a space for creators.
Kyle Mcmillan: led by the Creator to make a space for creators.

Kyle Mcmillan has lived in San Diego continuously since 1993, and he’s been involved in local music for almost that entire time — as a musician, booker, and manager. Now he’s opening a new all-ages club, Bridges, in Clairemont Mesa, and he’s adamant that a higher power inspired him.

“I’ll have to say God led me to open up. While managing the Irenic, I always maintained a great relationship with the promoters I was working with. When I heard the Irenic shut down, I prayed and sent out an email to the promoters, letting them know I was still interested in hosting shows with them. When I got the greenlight from them, I started to get to work, to establish my own thing, and that’s how Bridges came about. I partnered with my buddy-pastor Lance [Sherwood] at Communion Church, and we started our journey together as a church-event and concert venue. At the moment, my twin brother Kendrick McMillan is managing the venue, but I handle the day-to-day business side of things.”

Place

Bridges

6555 Balboa Avenue, San Diego

So while God may have had a hand in the matter, networking helped, too. “I met Lance in, I believe, 2015, while managing the Irenic. He came to do some recordings in the studio I built out on the campus there. I reached out to an amazing artist by the name of Haley Montgomery. I remembered she was connected to some churches that were interested in doing community events and concerts. That one phone call changed my whole life. She said, ‘Kyle, get over to this new church that’s getting built,’ and what do you know, it was Lance’s church. Lance saw the work I was doing at Irenic while he was doing that recording project, and he was like, ‘Yes, bring all that over to my church.’”

The Bridges club serves no alcohol, but Mcmillan plans on providing “some of San Diego’s best food, coffee, and dessert vendors at every show.” He also promises to have four highly-trained and certified guards at every show, monitoring the stage, crowd control, and outside grounds. Capacity runs to 225 seated, 425-450 standing.

As for the name, “Lance and I sat around talking about names to call the venue. He started talking about how he wanted to bridge the gap between the church and the music community in San Diego. He wants his facility grounds to be [a] hub for young creatives and creators. He wants people from all walks of life to feel comfortable, loved, and welcome when they come to shows. I immediately said, ‘That’s it, Bridges is the name,’ and that was that. The message behind the name matters the most, because I feel the same way, about church and the music community.”

All-ages clubs can be difficult to navigate legally, but Mcmillan avows that he didn’t have much trouble in that department. “Getting the permits actually wasn’t a challenge. The officer connected to that community was actually excited that something like this is coming to the area. After this pandemic, people are going to want a safe space to relax and enjoy some great music and community with friends and family.”

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