The Monopole, Plattsburgh‘s historic bar known for its live music will celebrate 120 years later this month. First opened in 1897, the bar has withstood prohibition, bitter winters and thousands of customers over the years, with live music a staple of the ‘single stick’ for the past 30. On November 30, West End Blend will be part of a night long celebration of The Monopole reaching the ripe old age of 120, with many years of live music and revelry yet to come.
To discuss the legacy of The Monopole, NYS Music talked to owner Corey Rosoff about the notable history of the venue, live music memories and how they’re celebrating 120. Photos courtesy of The Monopole.
Pete Mason: The Monopole has a history spanning over a century that few institutions reach. What do you credit this longevity to?
Corey Rosoff: I think a big part of the longevity has a lot to do with staff and how no matter who you are, we make you feel welcome. The Monopole has always been a melting pot of diverse clientele including doctors, lawyers, contractors, locals, college and also visitors to the area that all are made to feel comfortable here. We also have been very aware of the history and have worked hard to keep as many original features of the building and the bar. We still have the original woodwork and stained glass and mirrors.
PM: Among the decades found in the walls of The Monopole, what is your favorite anecdote about the bar’s history?
CR: I think one of the best story is how Theodore Roosevelt would be here every time he visited the barracks in Plattsburgh. I am still amazed of the amount of couples that come in or email about how they met their husband or wife at the Monopole.
PM: How has the role of music changed in the history of The Monopole? What was the earliest music performed here?
CR: I started working here in the late 70’s when I came to college up here and the Monopole was the first place to install high end stereo equipment. In fact the speakers were such high end they still are in use today. We started doing live music upstairs in the early 80’s with mostly acoustic acts and then evolved into what we have today.
PM: Who are some of the most notable bands to gain their start playing The Monopole?
CR: Some of the more notable bands that got their start here would be the Ominous Seapods (one of their songs is titled “Leaving The Monopole”) the South Catherine Street Jug Band and Christine Santelli (Grammy nominee for Songwriting & NYC Blues Hall of Fame ) who got her start in music hosting Open Mic with Matt Mousseau (NYC Blues Hall of Fame here in the early start of Open Mics at The Monopole which is still running every Wednesday night. Also Dave Grippo who is a saxophone player on some of Phish’s albums was a regular performer here back in the early 80’s.
PM: Why is West End Blend a good choice for a 120th birthday party?
CR: We chose to do this with West End Blend because after their initial performances in Plattsburgh (once for a city festival & then here in the early fall) everyone who saw them were impressed with their talent so we had been trying to fit a date where they could come back to the venue. We wanted to do this event with a band that we don’t get in the area much to create some extra hype for the special occasion.
Stay tuned for our interview with West End Blend next week and see what’s in store for November 30th. And if you’re looking for a New Year’s Eve show in Plattsburgh, don’t miss Groovestick with the venue staying open until 8:00am for a New Years party.