The second installation in the ‘Comeback Road’ video series spotlights the plight of Grand Rapids’ Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill, which essentially has been closed by the pandemic since March.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: Today, Local Spins presents the second installation in the “Comeback Road” video series on the plight of West Michigan concert venues ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown. After focusing on Grand Rapids’ The Pyramid Scheme in October, filmmakers Michael Whitenack, David Darling and Kari Cohen turn their attention to GR’s Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill.
Earlier this week, downtown Kalamazoo’s Union Cabaret & Grille – a popular live music hot spot – painfully revealed it would close for good due to revenue losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic and resulting health restrictions.
Ted Smith, co-owner of Grand Rapids’ Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill knows and understands that pain.
“Being a small bar, we can only make so much money and just didn’t have deep pockets to go into to keep paying the bills while we didn’t have any income,” Smith says of the much-beloved West Side bar and concert venue that’s essentially been closed since March.
“I had to pull a big chunk of money out of my own pocket … just to keep everything going.”
And just how long is that? Smith told interviewer Michael Whitenack for the “Comeback Road” video series that Tip Top can survive a few months without reopening, but really needs the government assistance being sought at the state and federal level by the National Independent Venue Association.
“It’s certainly difficult,” he concedes. “It becomes stressful thinking, ‘How long is this going to go on?’ ”
For nine years, the 140-capacity Tip Top has served as an oasis for touring American roots music bands and West Michigan artists of nearly every genre.
Smith hopes the venue – a retro-flavored, poster-adorned bar that’s “a throwback to a classic jukejoint from the ’40s and ’50s” – can eventually launch a “phased reopening” that starts with smaller, local acts. Watch the full interview and video here.
VIDEO: Comeback Road: Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill
• Watch the first video in the series featuring The Pyramid Scheme here: The Pyramid Scheme aches for return of live music
• Fans and patrons can help by purchasing Tip Top T-shirts via Etsy online here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TipTopDeluxeGR
• To donate to the Tip Top’s GoFundMe campaign: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-for-tip-top-and-employees
• To help Tip Top’s staff via Venmo: Tip_Top760
• To learn more about the National Independent Venue Association and show support for its cause: https://www.nivassoc.org/take-action
Copyright 2020, Spins on Music LLC