On the northern edge of downtown Palm Springs, a new music venue is on the verge of rekindling the music and nightlife scene that seems to have disappeared after the closure of Bar two years ago.
There’s one small problem: The venue isn’t fully open quite yet.
Until the venue finalizes its aesthetic identity, secures more seating and optimizes its kitchen and menu, The Alibi is in a “soft-opening” phase. Nevertheless, the venue is off to a great start, with an experienced team working together toward a common goal: making the northern portion of downtown Palm Springs a hip place to be once again.
Located at 369 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in the space that was for years known as Azul, the venue—directly across from the original Las Casuelas, next door to the Nat Reed Gallery, and a hop, skip and jump away from the old Bar space (which was previously the home of the infamous JD’s Landing)—the building is known for its beautiful patio, swing seats and island bar. All of that is still there, along with a pop-up hamburger stand from The Heyday.
As you walk inside the building, the first thing you see is the stage, and to the left of it, a raised lounge area. As for the décor: Adorning the bar area are leafy, mature houseplants, with dim romantic lighting and chandeliers installed here and there. The result: chill vibes all around. A grand piano and a disco ball are tucked away in a back corner, waiting to be relocated and repurposed. Perhaps most importantly: The Alibi has a stage, a proper sound system and—gasp!—a sound guy. All of these elements combine to create for visitors a unique and chic night on the town.
After taking over the old Azul location, the new owners initiated an extensive renovation. General manager Anthony Molnar says he and his team—which includes accomplished Los Angeles music and restaurant industry people behind The Echo, The Knitting Factory and Spaceland Presents—have a vision to create a “culturally creative space for artists and musicians in the local community, and provide a space for independent music.” They hope to connect to the community organically by providing free, 21-and-older shows—and booking excellent music. Molnar says a dance floor is next.
The team hopes to further attract locals with an expansive and eclectic drink menu. The current incarnation includes craft beers from local breweries, and exotic, yet affordable cocktails. Bartender Angie Bloom said she appreciates the extensive “tool box” she can pull from to quench the thirst of parched patrons. She is among the many excited and curious people who see The Alibi as a blank canvas, full of potential.
The venue’s current hours are somewhat mysterious—for now, The Alibi is mostly only open on weekends—but it is evident the creative people working behind the scenes want to deliver top-notch underground experiences in a lounge-like setting. For example, on Saturday, July 13, The Alibi hosted Jim White, the gothic Western folk musician, playing a warm-up show for his performance at The Echo. Every second Thursday of the month, The Alibi is hosting goth/industrial/EDM DJs. On Saturday, July 27, Lee Joseph is spinning garage and punk music (Joseph is the bassist for local musician Jesika Von Rabbit, who herself also DJ’d The Alibi’s first open night); and for Aug. 4, The Alibi booked Imperial Teen, a band that was big in the ’90s you might recognize for having a song in the movie Jawbreaker.
While the bar owners and managers have close ties to the Palm Springs community, their experience and sensibilities from also working in Los Angeles should result in eclectic, alternative and—above all—interesting music programming—something very refreshing to downtown Palm Springs.