Seafood-and-steak restaurant Ocean Prime recently announced that as of March 1, its Denver location will no longer offer live music in its lounge — a corporate move that music fans are trying to stop.
Located in Larimer Square, Ocean Prime has been showcaseing a rotating cast of local cover acts about three times a week, honoring artists like The Grateful Dead and Neil Young. The Denver franchise's general manager Jeremy Devine helped build Ocean Prime's live-music program when he was working for the chain in Indianapolis. He came to Denver around five years ago.
But Devine says that Ocean Prime management recently made a chain-wide announcement that the five remaining locations across the country that offer live music will no longer do so after the end of February.
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“Really, it’s a corporate decision,” says Devine. “As Ocean Prime has grown and evolved, not [many of the locations] have live music. There are five of them that do out of fifteen. It’s kind of a sweeping [decision], just for consistency more than anything.”
While it's unclear how much revenue was generated by the live music, performance nights have been welcomed not only by customers coming for happy hour or hanging out after dinner for cocktails, but by the staff, as well.
“I think it provided a positive impact on what we’ve done. It was a bit of our identity,” says Devine. “If we actually started talking numbers, I don’t know how many people come because of the live music, but I do believe people stay because of the live music.”
In protest, music fans have created a petition, and they're asking patrons, musicians and anyone else who supports the performances to contact the Ocean Prime corporate offices. The hope is that if enough people make their voices heard, the powers-that-be might be persuaded to keep the music — and the community it engenders — going.