Noise Pop To Reopen Swedish American Hall As 'Dinner And A Show' Venue

Noise Pop To Reopen Swedish American Hall As 'Dinner And A Show' Venue
By Mike Gaworecki - Published on December 17, 2014.
In big news for music fans, Noise Pop Industries will be reopening the Swedish American Hall at 2174 Market St. and operating it as a live music venue where you'll be able to get dinner while you catch a show.

According to Noise Pop general manager Dawson Ludwig, the grand reopening will take place in February 2015, during the annual Noise Pop Festival, which features indie music, arts, and film at multiple venues across the city. The Swedish American Hall will become “Noise Pop headquarters,” Ludwig says, and will host musical performances, happy hours, podcast tapings and other events throughout the festival, which goes down February 20th to March 1st.

Going forward, Noise Pop will bring “dinner theater-inspired” performances to the venue year-round, Ludwig told Hoodline in a phone interview.

“We weren’t really interested in just opening another room in San Francisco, we have plenty of those," Ludwig said. "We’re looking forward to doing something really special.”

According to a press release, it won’t just be the “dinner theater” atmosphere that aims to defy concertgoers’ expectations.

“The programming, curated by Noise Pop, will include a variety of intimate performances with an emphasis on music exploration and discovery. Events at the space will be designed to push the boundaries of popular music and culture, while also focusing on nurturing local musical talent.”

Noise Pop will act as booker and promoter of the Swedish American Hall, while the The Bon Vivants (the team behind Trick Dog) will handle the bar. The “culinary experiences” will be prepared by the Ne Timeas Restaurant Group, the folks behind Flour + Water.

Because of the Swedish American Hall’s historic status (it was built by Swedish architect August Nordin in 1907) the room has not been soundproofed, so the performances will tend to be of the acoustic variety, but Ludwig says that they are looking at potentially opening it up to full rock bands “down the line.” A schedule of performances in 2015 will be released at a later date.

Ludwig says of the announcement that it “feels very kismet” because Noise Pop brought the first-ever live musical performance to the Swedish American Hall, hosting Rilo Kiley there in 2004. In the years since, Noise Pop has brought a variety of other performers to the stage in the Swedish American Hall’s grand ballroom, including Vic Chesnutt, Britt Daniel of Spoon, Mac McCaughan of Superchunk, and Alexi Murdoch, to name a few.

Noise Pop will not have any involvement with Aatxe, the new Spanish restaurant being opened in the building by the Ne Timeas Restaurant Group, or with Cafe Du Nord, the former speakeasy-turned-live music venue in the Swedish American Hall’s basement, the closing of which was a subject of much lamentation by San Francisco music lovers and the future of which has been the subject of much debate.

The Swedish American Hall is owned by the San Francisco Swedish Society, which had the building constructed in 1907 after its original home was destroyed in the fire that followed the earthquake of 1906.

Guy Carson and Kerry LaBelle were the leaseholders on the Swedish American Hall, including Cafe Du Nord, from 2002 until last year, when they sold the lease to Dylan MacNiven, whose other credits include the Mission’s West of Pecos and Woodhouse Fish Co. (which is just a few doors down nearby). 

While MacNiven plans to keep live music as a component of the new Cafe Du Nord, also set to open next year, his plans for the space proved somewhat controversial with our readers.

However, the fact that MacNiven is turning over the booking and promotions of the Swedish American Hall to Noise Pop, an organization that also runs the 20th Street Block Party and the Treasure Island Music Festival (in partnership with Another Planet Entertainment), might prove to be a welcome development for San Francisco music fans.