Throughout the history of popular music, certain musical acts become partly known for their dedicated fanbases. The Beatles with “Beatlemania”, Taylor Swift fans claiming themselves as “Swifites”, so on and so forth. However, no other fanbase is more dedicated to their favorite group quite like “Deadheads” and their love of The Grateful Dead. In the 70’s, many of their fans began traveling to see the band on as many of their tour stops as possible. This resulted in the fanbase becoming more like a community that stretches all across the United States and beyond.
Enter The Golden Road, a Grateful Dead/Jam Band-themed nightclub, bar, and restaurant. With many similar-themed establishments around the country, it’s the first of its kind to open in Toledo. To give it a “touch of Toledo”, local artist Chilly Rodriguez provided the murals painted at the new establishment. Located at 3560 Dorr Street less than a mile from the University of Toledo’s main campus, The Golden Road invites you to come and join the party everyday.
We sat down with The Golden Road’s management to learn more.
What was the inspiration behind having a Grateful Dead-themed bar?
The Golden Road is owned by two brothers born and raised in Toledo. We saw our first Dead shows over 30 years ago and had our first experiences with “the rainbow full of sound, fireworks, calliopes, and clowns” and have been dancing along ever since.
Fans of the Grateful Dead usually feel more passionately about their music than the fans of almost any other band. Listening to the band introduced us to an entire genre of music, jam bands. We celebrate the joy we all feel at these shows every night with friends old and new.
For decades, we’ve been joking around about opening a bar. Over the years at shows, we’d purchase the unique poster art made for specific shows. Acts like Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, and countless others have been doing this since the early 60’s. At a certain point, we realized we had more than we could use at home. We also realized a bar seemed like an even better place for them. There are Grateful Dead-themed establishments all over America, now we have yet one more to add to the others in Toledo. Let the good times roll!
Inside The Golden Road, featuring many special concert posters. Image courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/goldenroadtoledo
Besides the theme, what makes The Golden Road stand out?
There is good energy here. We see new regulars made every night and we constantly are told, “we love the vibe”. We didn’t invent this wheel, we’re just covering more ground as a part of our long strange trip. As the song we’re named after says “…come and join the party everyday…”.
Can we expect any entertainment/shows at The Golden Road?
We are just beginning to talk with local and regional bands to start to fill in our summer music calendar. Since we opened, we have had many of the country’s favorite jam bands shows streamed live. Think of us as a virtual venue; if you can’t make it to the show in another city, come and meet your friends to watch the show. Whether it’s being played live by a band at the bar, or happening live somewhere else, there will be live music most nights of the week. Let there be songs to fill the air.