Kobo to undergo renovations, shift to all early shows

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Kobo just celebrated three years playing a big part in Columbus nightlife, and it sounds like the University District music venue is gearing up to play a slightly different role going forward. Owner Jacob Wooten announced yesterday that his bar will be closing June 30 for site maintenance and emerging as a new creature July 12. The space will be renovated, with "an expansion of the bar and floor space around the stage, sound and lighting upgrades, and a new bar top adorned with local music vinyl records" per the press release. I'm guessing that means Kobo will now be wide open rather than compartmentalized; it will feel a lot bigger in there. It will also sound great; all the in-house tunes will be spun on vinyl. Furthermore, the bar is adding a specialty cocktail menu and 15-20 local beer taps.

The most radical change regards Kobo's hours of operation: The bar will open daily at 6 p.m., and all concerts will end by 11 p.m. Also, they'll be closed Sundays and Mondays except for special events. It appears Kobo's well-attended all-ages early shows have influenced Wooten's approach. He seems to be positioning his bar as an alternative to the myriad local music nightspots that don't get kicking until the eleventh hour. As Wooten explained in the press release, "Young and older concert goers don't always want to stay out till1 hear their favorite band, and we are going provide that for them."

Don't worry, night owls. Kobo will stay open late (until 1 a.m. Tuesday-Thursday and 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays) as a hangout spot targeting the service industry. It's easy to imagine the younger crowd filtering out of the bar just as a second wave of patrons filter in, one bar serving two separate but overlapping populations. If Wooten can manage to attract two distinct age brackets to his establishment, to be an all-ages rock spot and a late-night hub at once, he will have pulled off quite the feat.

We'll see if it works starting with a soft reopening July 12. The new hours and all-ages policy officially go into effect Tuesday, July 16.