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. Children under 12 are free.
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.
We also love to host private events (including parties, off-site meetings, video shoots, presentations, and gatherings of all kinds). Please visit our Peerspace page to learn more about renting The Back Room, or call Sam at 510-381-1997 to learn more.