George’s Majestic Lounge plans summer renovation, stage expansion

George’s Majestic Lounge owner Brian Crowne stands in front of the long-time Dickson Street venue on Tuesday.

Photo: Dustin Bartholomew

In addition to guitars, horns, and drums, the banging of hammers and the singing of saws will be added to the sounds emanating from the hallowed brick walls of George’s Majestic Lounge this summer.

George’s owner Brian Crowne, who recently bought out his long-time business partner Suzy Stephens to become sole owner of the establishment, has some big plans for the 86-year-old watering hole and music venue.

New air conditioning in the garden, an expanded stage, a new green room, bathroom and shower facilities for artists, and other back-stage enhancements are planned during a significant renovation project this summer.

The nearly two-foot tall garden stage will be raised to about three and a half feet tall, and the ceiling above the stage is set to be raised from its current level at just under 10 feet to about 18 feet in the front.

“It’s really going to enhance our production capabilities,” Crowne said. “We’ve had some acts show up who ended up having to leave some of their equipment on the bus.”

Plus he said, the extra room will allow the venue to attract performers who require more elaborate stage setups.

The expansion will extend the rear of the building about 50 feet to the south, and will allow for a new artist area, storage, and office space.

Also, say goodbye to the retractable roof that has allowed sound and air to escape for years, because the garden stage area will be completely sealed and fully air conditioned.

“That whole space will be climate controlled,” he said. “Not only will we be able to keep it cool in the summer and warm in the winter, but it will make us prettier, quieter, and ultimately, better neighbors on Dickson.”

Crowne also said that for the first time in a few years, the bar will be open during the early part of the week even when there are no live music performances scheduled.

Mondays will be “crew night,” (an updated version of a bar and restaurant employee appreciation night), Tuesday will feature a new series called “Stripped Sessions” (stripped down, acoustic performances by local musicians, and hosted by Boom Kinetic singer Wiley Seeger), and Wednesday nights will be hosted by local musician Jeff Kearney.

“We’re going to have $1 PBR’s, $2 Blue Moons and domestic longnecks, and $3 wells, and just be open for people to hang out,” he said.

For Crowne, all of the changes are par for the course for the venue, which has existed in the location since 1927.

“It’s part of the evolution of George’s, where what’s old becomes new again. I feel like I’m reinvesting in this club physically, and emotionally,” Crowne said.

“This place has always been special to me. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous about expanding,” he said. “But I’m trying to take George’s into the 21st century, and still keep its cool, its funk, and its history.”

The new air conditioning should be in place by mid-June, and the rest of the renovations are scheduled to be completed in August.