Longtime friends Neil Murphy and Terry Lynch, both native to the charming hamlet of Leeds, NY, have begun to realize a shared dream – bring live music back to Greene County at an unparalleled level.
Lovely Leeds has a rich history of gathering places since the 19th century, reaching a heyday of live music performances in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Irish dance music was a big draw with locals and visitors from downstate alike, and two anchor venues emerged – O’Shea’s Irish Center (now the Inn at Leeds) and Gilfeather’s Sligo Hotel (first know as the Hotel St. George, and later O’Brien’s before closing in the 1990s).
The Marble Rock House is the newly renovated reincarnation of Gilfeather’s at 1147 Main Street, just south of the post office, at the intersection of Green Lake Road. A step inside reveals the perfect integration of the restored legacy art deco bar, and a clean, wide-open main space, with lot of comfortable nooks for conversation and revelry.
Musician Terence Lynch saw first-hand the appeal and draw for live music shows with the continuing success of Club Helsinki in Hudson. That venue elevated the area as a live-music destination, and proved to Lynch that there was opportunity on this side of the river.
While Hudson has the train station, Catskill has NYS Thruway Exit 21, the gateway to resorts in the Great Northern Catskill Mountains of Greene County. Turning right onto NYS 23B, Leeds has benefited from the traffic to new eclectic businesses like Gracie’s Luncheonette and Hartland on Hudson Coffee & Gifts.
“We want this to be a place for everyone,” says Lynch.
“Locals, New York City transplants and tourists.”
Leeds was an Irish town in the ’60s, and in the season, you couldn’t get through Main Street. It was bumper to bumper as people went from one location to another for Irish music.
The Marble Rock House is definitely channeling this heritage, albeit expanding performances by encompassing all type of musical genres with an outstanding schedule of concerts running from 8 pm to 11 pm. This earlier time frame was a conscious decision – A definite departure from the old 10 pm to 2 am schedule of the 1970s – when the drinking age was 18 and bars closed at 4 am.
“Sometimes, venues don’t start shows until 11 p.m. and then you just have people waiting around,” Lynch said. “We want older people or families to be able to enjoy music at a reasonable time. And we want to be kind to our neighbors.”
The bar and dance floor spaces are conjoining, and patrons will have the option to dine at events. Some tables are removed at 8 p.m. to allow for more dancing in an intimate venue with a capacity of 100 people.
Lynch and Murphy see many areas for the business to grow but will keep it simple to start. They are considering turning the former apartments into hotel rooms, rebuilding the former barn on the property for expanded event space and potentially hosting dance lessons.
For food, the menu has a Mexican focus – tacos, pulled pork, brisket, beef and veggies as well as fun appetizers and a great selection of local craft brews! Patrons may also expect pop-up nights from local chefs.
The music is the business’s primary focus, so the menu is intended to be simple.
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Topics: Success Stories