Location: 933 Olive Street Eugene, OR 97401
Phone: (541) 687-4643
Luckey’s is a historical business that was established in 1911. Besides operating as a bar (the oldest in Lane County), it was originally a cigar store as well. A full and fascinating historical overview of the venue can be found here.
I attended a concert at Luckey’s on Saturday, November 10th, 2012. Luckey’s flier for that week’s shows is below. The bands that played were: The Underlings, Eighteen Individual Eyes, The Love Sores, and Hot For Chocolate. I also had the opportunity to speak with Summerfield Habener, Bar Manager, and Sean Ponder, Sound Engineer.
At the concert I attended, the age of the patrons ranged from 20s to 60s, which in my experience is a very wide spread for a small, rock-oriented bar/venue like Luckey’s. There was a $3 cover charge, which is a typical cover at the venue. $3 for four bands in my estimation is an incredible deal, yet Habener expressed that with seven bars in the immediate area (most without covers), patrons often grumble about having to pay a cover at all.
Luckey’s has pool and darts, and on this night, there were continual pool games going. In addition, TVs and tables (as opposed to a dance floor) arguably took the focus away from the music; the audience seemed split between those engaged in their pool games and conversations and those who gave the music their full attention. However, that Luckey’s has options for activities, a low-key, comfortable environment, and a small cover charge makes it an attractive evening destination and a great place for a patron to discover a new (local or otherwise) band. I felt welcomed and included at Luckey’s, regardless of my taste in each band playing (I did enjoy Eighteen Individual Eyes greatly). Both the long history of the bar and the pride the staff clearly takes in it likely contributed to this feeling (read for evidence of this pride). Over the course of my thirty-minute interview with Habener outside the bar’s entrance at a small table, three different sets of arriving patrons addressed him by name with handshakes, smiles, and small talk. He and Luckey’s are doing something right, as they enjoy regulars who clearly feel at home in the bar. When I asked, “How do you know audience members are enjoying a show?” Sean Ponder replied simply: “You can tell because there’s a migration away from the bar to the stage.”
However, Habener spoke of one of the challenges Luckey’s faces, saying there was “no lust” to go and see live music. Not only do potential patrons of the area not expect to pay a cover, in general, people no longer have to go out to discover new music—they can just go online. He said some bands are trying to remedy this and build up a following by having an extended residency in one venue, as opposed to a one-night-per-city traditional tour. As a small venue (50 or so audience members being a good-sized attendance), Habener says Luckey’s doesn’t often take a chance on touring bands, preferring to use local bands who have a dedicated fan base. The venue has a commitment to hosting “consistently good music” five nights a week, regardless of the genre. The flier below demonstrates this, including such diverse genres as hip-hop, instrumental rock, bluegrass, and punk.