A good jukebox keeps people calm. A great jukebox acts as a dollar-bill-eating metaphor, perfectly reflecting (for better or worse) the nature of a bar’s clientele. Here are some bar jukes that help us remember the importance of having an appropriate soundtrack, since your party can never be better than your music
Next Door Bar
Management’s sole attempt at introducing an Internet juke was accompanied by a note essentially asking patrons to remain calm and try something new. The experiment was short-lived, thankfully so, considering the Next Door has a consistently solid collection of dark alternative and hedonistic rock ‘n’ roll, providing a parallel for the bar’s usual clientele.
Jazz vocalists, metropolitan bluesmen, classic rock songsmiths and outlaw troubadours provide the soundtrack for this Market Square anchor. A small touch of early alternative is about as recent as you’ll get, with R.E.M. reaching out to the now middle-aged generation of Warren’s customers who discovered the bar early in their drinking careers.
Under the Volcano
Volcano’s well-used juke has the premier selection of Americana music in the city, in addition to a solid foundation of essentials (Kinks, Stones) and a rotating cast of new and hip artists. Owner Pete Mitchell takes suggestions to heart, filtering them through a refined taste and happily pandering to maintain a specific vibe throughout the night. Another factor affecting the jukebox is the stalwart presence of musicians, scene mavens and music journalists who frequent the establishment.
The juke here is about what you’d expect from a legit Montrose roadhouse: plenty of stripped-down classic rock, twangy country and nothing the least bit self-conscious. The conversation at Ruthie’s is usually too stimulating to allow much time for being concerned about the soundtrack, but those who venture to the corner and pop in a few dollars will find a few surprises amongst the pages.
Older, newer, gritty and uncalculated, Lola’s jukebox is hip in spite of itself. It is also worth noting that many people require at least five trips to this bar before even realizing there is a jukebox.