The Main Street Café aims to bring Clarksburg’s music scene back to life with an all-ages venue.
Building the music scene and giving bands a place to play are what drives the duo behind The Main Street Café. “We started The Main Street Café for the sole purpose of giving bands in the area a hometown venue, one that supports them 100 percent,” says Daniel Bonner, manager. He, along with hisfiancée Sissy Broadwater, handles management and booking at the Café. The two took over management duties in January 2014. The couple fixed up the once defunct spot, adding a bar and a partition, and turned it into a coffee shop, café, community center, and music venue; they held their first show in February of 2014.
Located in historic downtown Clarksburg, The Main Street Café is host to a myriad of events, acting as a community center for the local area. The café is not limited to a coffee shop and a bar/music venue. It also hosts pool tournaments and focuses on a wide range of arts, such as open mic nights for musicians, poets, and comedians. “These used to be some of our busiest nights,” Daniel says. These events draw in a primary audience between ages 15 and 30.
Besides being a spot for the community, the managers want the café to be a place where bands want to play. Daniel believes the café’s nearly five-star ratings can be attributed to how the management treats the bands; it’s what sets this venue apart. “I think [the ratings have] a lot to do with our personalities when it comes to running things. We don’t cater to one style or genre. The reason the Café is here is to give bands a comfortable, fun place to play, and in return, the bands’ draw keeps us open. We treat the bands like family, not a means of business.”
Clarksburg’s music scene had slowly been dying out, but The Main Street Café is changing that with each show. “It was impossible for bands to hold shows without paying for a place to play or having a house show,” Daniel says. Before The Main Street Café, local artists would have to hit the road, the closest music venue being 123 Pleasant Street in Morgantown. Now the two venues work together when it comes to booking. The Main Street Café is able to attract people from outside of the area by bringing in new bands on a regular basis.
“I’ve said it from the beginning, but we are like Planet Fitness, a judgment-free zone. Come as you are. We don’t care who you are or where you come from; at the café, you’re family.”
331 West Main Street, Clarksburg, WV 26301, 304.641.4020, themainstreetcafe304.com
written by Jordan Carter