Last February, Joe Gurba, a.k.a. rapper The Joe, was sipping coffee at Transcend on Jasper when a staff member asked him if he was interested in helping them. Gurba is already a talent booker for Wunderbar, bringing alternative indie rock and rap acts to the popular beer emporium, but this award-winning cafe was looking for something more intimate and mellower.
He was introduced to general manager Michael Harvey, also co-owner of Café Haven. Harvey asked him what his vision would be, and Gurba asked to see the 100-person venue downstairs.
Fifteen minutes later, they had a deal.
The ironically named Elevation Room opens this Friday with local folk rock band Scenic Route to Alaska and guests. You can expect concerts every Friday and Saturday evening. Gurba says they’re already booked into July. For a list of events, click here.
Although it’s licensed, it’s also an all-ages venue, something quite rare in Edmonton. This is made possible because as long as they serve their regular menus, coffee shops and restaurants have designations under liquor laws that allow them to serve alcohol without partitioning adults from children.
Café Haven, Harvey’s Sherwood Park coffeehouse, is also bringing musicians in to give an extra jolt.
The cafe established Thursday night concerts, but they fizzled out over a year ago. Recently, a new talent booker, Joel Verhagen, renewed the concert series to much success. They, too, are booked into July.
"I wanted to make a decent music venue for Sherwood Park because we don't have anything like that here," says Verhagen, a musician himself.
Click here to find out what’s upcoming at its Thursday music nights.