The Story Behind The Back Room
On April 16, 2016, local musician Sam Rudin opened a new music venue in downtown Berkeley called The Back Room, which honored his vision to recreate the cozy ambience of the original Freight & Salvage, a beloved Berkeley music venue dedicated to acoustic music.
Every East Bay music lover of a certain age knows that the beloved 420 seat concert hall started out as a tiny 87 seat room, stuffed with thrift-store couches and great music. The Freight’s overwhelming success and resulting expansion have been celebrated by all, but there are some who miss the living room intimacy that allowed lesser-known musicians to make their mark, and better-known players to get up close and personal with their fans.
Rudin, known for his rip-roaring solo piano wizardry as well as his band of jazz and blues veterans (Hurricane Sam & the Hotshots), describes his venture as a small space (100 people max), with great acoustics and comfortable seating, that showcases the musicians with respect and appreciation.
The Back Room welcomes all acoustically-based genres, including jazz, blues, folk, bluegrass, Americana, and more, and is an all-ages venue.
- The Back Room is not a place for food. Oh, we have a few packaged snacks for sale, but nothing that needs to be heated, sliced, or served.
- The Back Room is not a place for drinks. Of course we have water and soft drinks – we don’t want anyone to go thirsty. And adults are welcome to bring their own adult beverages with no corkage fee — we’ll even supply the glasses. But we can’t sell any alcohol, and we don’t really want to.
- The Back Room is a place with comfortable, upholstered furniture that may remind you of your own living room (assuming, of course, that your living room is filled with a few dozen thrift store mismatches.) Seating, as it happens, is very important to us, because we want the folks here to be completely relaxed, and happy, and ready to listen.
- The Back Room is, as the logo says, an intimate place for music.
Now, we like loud, sweaty rock as much as anyone. But we are a small place designed for a smaller sound. We offer a wonderful ambience with brick walls, a high vaulted wooden ceiling, and a Steinway Grand piano on stage.