Ambrose West, a new West Asheville music and event venue, is set to open in a renovated Haywood Road church on Thursday.
The new venue and its owners, mother-and-daughter team Donna Fox and Nikki Woods, will bring a listening room vibe to 312 Haywood Road. Venue spokesman Sam Katz describes it “as picking up right where the Altamont left off.”
Katz is referring to the Altamont Theatre in downtown Asheville, where he and business partner Richard Barrett operated a listening room known for its amazing acoustics and strong musical lineup. The venue closed at the end of 2017 after the building owner decided to change the space over to short-term rentals, a move that left fans distraught. Barrett moved on to a new career in finance, while Katz, who books music through his business Charlie Traveler Presents, signed on to help Fox and Woods.
Katz says Ambrose West will fit in nicely with East/West Asheville’s neighborhood vibe and the new development nearby at OWL Bakery, Archetype Brewing, Pizza Mind and Ghan Shan West restaurants. The listening room, with a capacity to hold about 150 patrons, will offer both seated and standing shows. The other emphasis for Ambrose West will be hosting weddings and events.
The 150-seat room, with big wooden ceiling beams and sunlight windows, will feature a variety of acts that will fill a niche between West Asheville existing music venues, Katz says. Ambrose West will feature offerings that won’t compete with the bluegrass heavy Isis Music Hall and the indy and experimental music centric The Mothlight and The Odditorium.
There’s a downstairs bar at Ambrose West, similar to the set-up at the Altamont, and a big outdoor deck/patio. Many will be on the earlier side, with 8 p.m. starts and 11 p.m. finishes.
The Grateful Dead tribute act known as the Grateful Asheville Music Experience, which includes members of The Paper Crowns, Phuncle Sam and Dirty Dead, will kick things off at Ambrose West. The gypsy jazz sounds of Gonzalo Bergara Quartet follow on Friday.
“Everyone’s excited,” Katz says.