Dead evening, cold drizzle on the little corner strip mall where Northumberland meets North Lombardy. The adult day care’s closed, so’s the Solid Rock Tabernacle of Faith. Just a few arrivals and departures over at the hair place.
Under the red sign of the late Union Bistro & Jazz — “Live jazz while you dine and feel fine!” — the wind stirs a couple of wet, half-furled flags and two hanging baskets of dead plants. It’s still there on a Google search — a zombie jazz club that folded nearly a year ago.
A white box van rolls in, ladders clamped on the roof. Jazz, pretty loud, comes out of the window and lifts the mood. The contractor Ian Baptiste, 54, co-owner of the Bistro, is here to tell me what befell his club, now missing from the live jazz music scene.
Spoiler alert: it was too much expense and not enough revenue. But the project’s two-plus years brought good times, occasionally great music, a couple of lessons learned. And it was a quest…one that began when the first Richmond space opened that used the word “jazz,” just about a century ago.
So there’s more to tell. ( Go on, to Part II — “Like a different planet…”)