Photo by Nathan Grimm
The Underground on Broadway owner Doug Moore stands in one of the rooms of his new music venue. The club is set to open Sept. 30.
ALTON — On Friday nights, teenagers clad in heavy metal T-shirts will pour in to headbang to their favorite band.
Saturday evenings, jazz enthusiasts will flock to the venue to get some rhythm.
And on Sunday mornings, families will turn out for fellowship, worship and, of course, coffee and doughnuts.
That’s how owner Doug Moore envisions the future of his new club, The Underground on Broadway. The venue, 630 E. Broadway in Alton, will open its doors Sept. 30 with a Blues Night, featuring local artist Jonathan McCammon, and Moore said he would eventually like the venue to have something going on every night.
One of the things that Moore hopes set his club apart is the fact that it will be a non-alcoholic venue. It’s what Moore described as a “nightclub with a conscience.
“I wanted to be distinctive. I wanted to be different than anybody else,” Moore said. “It’s not like we’re teetotalers or we’re abstainers. At this point, it’s like, why do we want to have the added expense (of a liquor license) when they can walk 10 feet this way to Woodstock or to the world famous Fast Eddie’s down the block?”
Moore, 47, who plays in the Christian metal band Sozorox, said he’s played in plenty of clubs and bars around the St. Louis area that serve alcohol but said he wanted The Underground to put the music first.
“They’re all bars with a venue. We want to be a music venue with beverages,” Moore said. “We want to be first and foremost a music venue. That’s what we are.”
The nightclub undertaking is a first for Moore, who works by day as a transportation planner for St. Louis logistics company Ingersoll Rand. He said opening a club is something he’s wanted to do for a long time, even before he joined a band.
It came with a lot of work. The building had sat empty for 11 years before Moore got inside earlier this year. Many relics, some older than others — like the exposed brick walls and iron molding around the windows and doors that can be traced back to the 1890s — remain, but Moore had to install new flooring and is replacing windows in the upper floors of the roughly 9,600-square-foot building. Moore said a new sound system will also be installed prior to the late September opening.
Just like the music space will have an eclectic taste, featuring hard rock one night and bluegrass the next, the building itself will serve many different purposes. In a room next to the concert space, massive built-in bookshelves hold hundreds of legal books left behind by the law firm that last inhabited the space more than a decade ago.
Moore said that room, with an old wooden, spiral staircase that leads upstairs to office spaces, will soon be home to a coffee shop that will operate by day. There will also be food available, with the business entering into an agreement with neighbor Princivalli’s Cafe, and while there won’t be alcoholic beverages, Moore said there will be plenty of soft drink options and hopefully even some non-alcoholic mixed drinks offered in the future.
And long after the last guitar riff from Friday night’s metal band has ended, the congregation of The Underground Church, of which Moore is the pastor, will sing a different tune on Sunday mornings. Moore, who has been a pastor in the area for nearly 20 years after receiving a bachelor’s and master’s degree in theology, said the church will call the venue home but made sure to note that just because it’s all under the same roof, the nightclub is “not out to evangelize.
“We want to make people understand that it’s not a church opening a venue,” Moore said.
“I want people to see this as a venue, but also know that there is a church that really thinks it’s very cool, that supports that.”
For more information, visit The Underground on Broadway’s Facebook page, “The Underground on Broadway.”