The Penny Arcade was amid the most revered rock-songs golf equipment in Rochester background.
The bar was at the in the vicinity of-northernmost portion of Lake Avenue in Charlotte and a person of the longest-lasting clubs in the region. Musicians like Bon Jovi, Foghat, Bad Business, Gregg Allman and Joan Jett played the Arcade, but the position was generally most intently identified with its founder and longtime proprietor, Greg Sullivan.
Sullivan opened the club at 4785 Lake Ave. in 1973, when he was fresh out of higher education. He took around a place that had housed a pizza parlor and just before that a window retail store. The Arcade rapidly turned a favourite amid the long-haired, tough-rocking, challenging-partying crowds of the 1970s.
The Penny Arcade transformed fingers various times above its last couple yrs but usually experienced a tough-rock edge. “Thrash-rock” or “velocity metallic” succeeded hefty steel in the afterwards incarnations. Local rockers knew they hit it massive when they performed the Arcade’s stage.
Lisa Falardeau-Inzana labored there from 1977 by means of 2000, starting as a waitress right before advancing to bartender and then controlling the club. She remembered the Arcade’s heyday as from 1975 to 1990.
“We never ever experienced fewer than 300 to 400 people today there, and on weekends, we received 600 or 700,” stated Falardeau-Inzana, who nevertheless lives in the Charlotte community. Sullivan “was a huge mentor to a lot of musicians. People today would sit in his office and chat with him for hrs. There were being so several well known folks in that area, it can be unbelievable.”
Falardeau-Inzana was operating the night time when Billy Joel, in town for a 1986 live performance at the War Memorial, stopped by the Arcade unannounced. “He came up with his small entourage,” she mentioned. “He partied a tiny and went on his way.” Customers of Metallica visited while they were recording regionally, she mentioned, but like Joel, they failed to play at the Arcade.
Kevin DeHond was a bartender at the Penny Arcade from about 1977 by way of 1986. He recalled very a handful of nights of raucous entertaining and additional than a couple of tales of ribaldry.
“Men and women were being a minimal bit out of their minds then,” reported DeHond, who also nevertheless lives in Charlotte. “We had two dressing rooms. God only is familiar with what went on in there.”
Sullivan usually booked bands on their way up or on their way down. DeHond rattled off a few additional favorites, like Robin Trower, Molly Hatchet and Iron Butterfly. John Valby, a McQuaid Jesuit graduate nicknamed “Dr. Filthy” for his obscene piano ditties, was a regular. Many years afterwards, the acts incorporated bands like Saxon and Biohazard.
DeHond said the Penny Arcade paired with radio stations WCMF and WSAY to affect an overall technology of musicians and club-goers.
“Nevertheless the Penny Arcade went via several alterations about the yrs, its significance to the Rochester audio local community was hardly ever larger than it was in the late 1970s and early 1980s,” DeHond wrote in an e mail. “Nevertheless there ended up other fantastic venues all over in individuals times, NONE came anywhere even shut to the affect upon Rochester’s audio tradition.”
And that was due mostly to Sullivan. He offered the Arcade in 1992, but reclaimed the location a number of decades later on. When strategies to near the Arcade were declared in early 1995, Sullivan responded in days, indicating he was coming back and vowing, “The Penny Arcade is not going to fold up and fade absent … This is my existence.”
Longtime Democrat and Chronicle songs critic Jeff Spevak named the Arcade “Rochester’s ideal bet to catch a significant-metallic act above the yrs.” He also labeled the club the city’s “longtime temple of loud” and reported the Arcade could possibly have experienced the finest seem program in the city. Spevak described the bar’s appeal in a 1999 Democrat and Chronicle story.
“The 1970s and 1980s were a vintage time for rock, an period when the guitarists experienced hair like Farrah Fawcett and the guide singer experienced an armadillo in their trousers,” Spevak wrote. “The Arcade still celebrates the era with tribute bands.”
Among the club’s treasures, he observed, ended up a plastic beer bucket autographed by former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde and a cardboard cutout of Ozzy signed by Ozzy himself.
Sullivan sold the club again in 2000, and the Arcade went by a couple a lot more possession improvements just before it closed for fantastic in 2009. Sullivan died very last year following struggling a significant coronary heart attack at residence. The bar he ran for several years is now named Lake Siders Bar & Grill, but Sullivan’s and the Arcade’s presence is nevertheless strongly felt.
A plaque out entrance reads, “In memory of Greg Sullivan/ founder of the Penny Arcade/ “Rochester’s Rock Concert Night Club.” The significant Penny Arcade signal nonetheless sits atop the club, previously mentioned the Lake Siders marquee in front. A Fb web page committed to memories of the Penny Arcade has nearly 3,500 members.
“When Greg died, it was awful,” Falardeau-Inzana explained. “It was like losing my father, my favorite trainer. He was generally truly good to us.”
Sullivan’s widow, Lana, satisfied her husband at the Penny Arcade. A 2015 Democrat & Chronicle tale explained she operates a funeral house just down the road from the bar.
“The Penny Arcade meant a great deal to me,” Lana Sullivan claimed. “My bridal shower was there. My little one shower was there. It was form of an establishment. I nevertheless sense like Greg is there.”
What ever Happened to …? is a characteristic about Rochester’s haunts of yesteryear and is dependent on our archives.
Morrell is a Rochester-based mostly freelance writer.
Editor’s be aware: This story was initially published in July 2015.