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Venue Spotlight

https://www.facebook.com/shotgunsuessaloon

Step into the heart of Lubbock's historic Depot District and discover a hidden gem that harks back to the rustic charm of the Old West—welcome to Shotgun Sue's Saloon. This newly unveiled entertainment haven embodies the spirit of a bygone era, bringing the allure of an authentic saloon experience to the heart of West Texas. Nestled amidst the vibrant Depot District, Shotgun Sue's seamlessly marries the rugged aesthetics of the Old West with contemporary entertainment, promising patrons an immersive journey into the past with a modern twist. From weathered wood to the inviting glow of rustic lanterns, every detail at Shotgun Sue's transports you to a time when saloons were more than just watering holes—they were the pulse of a community. Join us as we cast a spotlight on Shotgun Sue's Saloon, where the Depot District's rich history converges with contemporary revelry for an unparalleled and unforgettable experience. Saddle up and get ready for a taste of the Old West right in the heart of Lubbock.

We recently had a sit-down conversation with owners Tim and Vince.

LLMS: Here with Tim and Vincent of Shotgun Sue's. 

So, how long have you been open now? 

TIM: Since April of 23, coming up on a year now.

LLMS: Can you share the story behind the establishment of this venue? 

What inspired the decision to combine a bar with live music? 

TIM: So, whenever we first walked in, I mean, it's a shotgun bar,  

I wanted a little stage just for that right idea if it ever happened, and then as we got going and just being down here in the depot district, it's known for all this music, it morphed into what we hoped for. 

LLMS: So was this already a bar when you guys bought it? 

TIM: 10 years ago or so, it was the old O'Reilly's, and it was empty, but the bar was still here; part of it was here. 

VINCE: Yeah, we didn't have a concept when we came in. We didn't know that while Tim was trying to find us a spot. We wouldn't do a concept before; we would let the building tell us what it was. We walked in, and it was immediately a saloon; Tim did probably 90% of the construction work, and 90% of the renovation had to be added to the bar, but there was a small bar.  

So you could tell that it was shotgun style. While renovating we decided to add a small stage. We both love live music! Our capacity is 45 so we had to keep that in mind as we built the stage.  

LLMS: So, how would you describe the musical atmosphere you aim to create in your venue?  Are there specific genres or music styles that complement the bar's overall vibe? 

TIM:  We're open to anything. Yeah, we're open to any style per se. Yeah, if it is just a one or two-person act. We are limited to the space we have. But some solo guys can do blues, or they can do rock, or they can do, you know, singer-songwriter, or they can do a little bit of jazz.  

I came from Dallas, and Lower Greenville used to be all live music, and Live music has been run out of the big cities.  

It's all DJ-driven. It's unbelievable. So, to get back here and be in touch with it again is a great feeling!   

LLMS: So, what is your approach to selecting or booking musical acts for your venue? Do you focus on local talent, emerging artists, or established acts, and how do you choose the right act? 

VINCE: It's a funny question. Our goal is to work with the local music scene and bring in some out-of-town artists as well. 

We always joke about this, but we would love to discover the next up-and-coming artist right here at Sue’s! Yeah, like the next singer-songwriter. That's the beautiful thing about our relationship: Tim has the experience. He's done it for 35-plus years. And I have a different experience.  

You know, my background is different than Tim's. But it's cool that we can bounce things off each other. We talk every day, multiple times a day.  

And, you know, we want the best product in Lubbock. One that's a little different. 

LLMS: So Tim, tell me more about you; Vince is talking about your history. 

TIM: Yeah, I grew up in Lubbock and left when I was 18. My first job here was at El Chico's. 

LLMS: Yeah? That was my wife's first job, too! 

TIM: Then I moved to Houston for school, bartended, and then moved to Dallas and started doing restaurants, nightclubs, and bars. 

LLMS: Oh really? So you manage them there?  

TIM: Managed, owned, and operated everything. I was in Dallas for over 25 years. So definitely a good experience.  

LLMS:  So, how do you balance creating an enjoyable space for patrons to socialize and maintaining a stage for live performances?  

TIM: So, it's all experience, obviously, and it's a controlled experience based on everything in the room, all the way down to the menu, to the decor, to the drinks.  

If I can create a comfortable environment with music that complements that, we have a winning formula. That's going to be there for a long time.  

And one of the things that, and I know you would agree with this, is also trying to find the balance between the volume and the entertainment.  

And then you must be careful not to get too loud, but you still want them to be heard. But you still want people to be able to converse. And that balances itself.  

The hard part with many bars is that the music becomes a background.  

LLMS: Right.  

TIM: What we've done is unique as we arrange the furniture. We try to pull everything towards the stage. You try to focus on the stage for that night. Turn off the TV. 

LLMS: Yeah. Thank you. I appreciate that.  

VINCE: If somebody wants to hang out at the bar or stay outside, they have that option.  

VINCE: Most of the time, the focus is on the bar. Most of the time, if we don't have live music, the focus is on these guys.  

LLMS: Yeah, yeah.   

VINCE: These guys are the performers, honestly. You know, so you'll see that if there's no music, people, even last night when I came in, want to be at the bar because they can see these guys making drinks.  

But then it's, like Tim said, to understand and shift that focus to where the performer is.  

LLMS: Yeah. 

VINCE: Spivey is an excellent example because he had a fantastic production. I think that brings excitement when you see it. And the cool thing about it is that it's, you know, all local stuff, too.  

An intimate performance can be an incredible experience for our customers. You know, because you feel connected. You can hear the words, and the background noise is not as strong as if you're somewhere else. And it's all this.  

And now I'm happy with how this room sounds. 

LLMS: Can you talk about any signature event or reoccurring music nights that have become, you know, popular at your bar, your venue?  

VINCE: It'll be every Thursday for music, and we have all kinds of special night drink specials. 

LLMS: So how do you promote or market your live music events to attract both regular patrons and new audiences? 

VINCE: Really, we're just using social media, Facebook, Instagram, and all that kind of manages that piece of it. We get photos and, you know, different things from the artists. 

LLMS: Okay, so how has the integration of live music impacted the overall ambience and customer experience at your bar?  

TIM: Now that we've started consistently on Thursday, Thursdays have been one of our best nights of the week. It's had a huge impact. 

LLMS: So what role does community engagement play in the success of revenue? Are there partnerships or collaborations with local businesses, artists or organizations? 

TIM: Yeah, the cool thing about us being in the Depot District is we've developed a close, close-knit family with Bodine's and the Blue Light because we all want everybody to succeed.  

LLMS: Right.  

TIM: We want to revive the street to where it was. And it's going to take us all working together.  And if we're full, we send them to, you know, our neighbors and the same thing happens: our neighbors send them to us. 

You know, you've even got Kong's, who has a totally different vibe, age, and demographic, but there'll still be people wandering in there, and their management group will send them here.  

LLMS: Cool!!  

TIM: It's like a brotherhood, and we love it. 

LLMS: Can you share any memorable moments or performances that stand out in the history of your venue?  

VINCE: Our first music event was fabulous. Tim, it was your friend Robin Lore from Dallas. She's a real big star in the Dallas scene.  

She goes to Colorado and does a tour every summer. And so, she said she was coming through and wanted to play.  

And so yeah, she was the first one, and it was awesome.  

We packed it for her. And her dog stayed on the stage with her.  

One it sticks out because it shows the potential. And the excitement of thinking, you know what? Hey, this may work. This could be something that we'll be able to do. Yeah, that was a good one. 

LLMS: So, how do you handle the logistics of organizing live music events, including sound setup, equipment, and scheduling? 

VINCE: We just have one point of contact now.

LLMS: So, looking ahead, what are your plans for the future with the bar music venue or their upcoming events, renovations, and expansions in the works?  

TIM: Yeah, we are expanding. We're doing a private lounge. And with that, it opens this room more and gives us more possibilities.  

LLMS: So, it's next door?  

TIM: Yes. We're going to break down the wall. So, you go through that door right there. Like a, not speak easy, but kind of.  

So that table will go away when that room's open, which gives us a little bit of a dance floor or, you know if you do a little high top over here. So, it just changes the whole flow of the room. It does. 

And so, with that, there's the possibility of, like I say, expanding to other nights, other than just Thursday. This gives us a lot more capacity and options for our clientele.  

 It will just be a different concept in there. It will be higher end, with cocktails, a bar, and a lounge.  

It'll look a lot different. Completely different. We commissioned a local artist to bring her creative magic to the feel of the room!  

LLMS: Thanks for sharing about Shotgun Sue's. We look forward to seeing your business have enormous success...