Venue Profile: The Soda Bar

by Beck Macey

Venue Profile: The Soda Bar

Beck: How would you describe the Soda Bar and what led you to start it?

Angelina: When we had just started, the Glass Onion had just shut down and there was no music scene in North Philly. So, it was unfortunate, and we knew as college students, especially at Temple, the commute out to house venues in west and south wasn’t necessarily annoying, but it would deter our desire to go. I knew I really wanted to support the scene as much as possible because a lot of my friends are musicians, so my friends and I, Sidra, Owen, and Danielle cleared out my basement last year and we started throwing shows. So, it started out as like 35 people coming and it quickly grew because we were involved with WHIP and we had an audience based on that and so it quickly grew to over 200 people coming into our house. Our main focus was and is to get these bands larger followings in order to grow.

Beck: So, I recently saw that you guys are closing up for a bit, so I’d love to hear about some of your favorite memories/ shows you’ve had?

Angelina: There have been a lot of amazing shows, and I can ­­­pinpoint some of them, but overall, all of them have been amazing. Its honestly made me so proud of what we can do for these bands and bringing in that kind of revenue for them is insane. I think my favorite show was probably the Carly Cosgrove EP release show, that was an incredible show. Carly Cosgrove’s first show ever was actually at the Soda Bar about a year ago at the first Soda Bar and then they started blowing up. I know Beach Fuzz as well, Ross’s solo project’s EP release show had the largest attendance in Soda Bar history with 224 people who came out, and then of course Rubber is another band that’s been great.

Beck: What has been the most challenging part of running the venue?

Angelina: There was a lack of communication in the leadership, as always when you mix business with your friends things can get complicated, so like, somebody had to set up. So, Sidra and I stepped up, and we had two other sound engineers move in with us this past year and that really helped out. However, overall, I think the biggest complication was making sure everyone was always on the same page about stuff, and eventually we got there. Sometimes we had smaller issues like getting things stolen, but usually that just became jokes. But the greatest thing about the community is that if someone saw something, they usually would say something.

Beck: What have you been doing during COVID-19 to keep music alive/ What has been the most challenging part of COVID-19?

Angelina: So, we have our Soda Spotlights series where we do livestreams of individual bands, and we just had our last one for now. Now we’re gonna take a little bit of a break for the next few months. To answer the second part of the question, at the beginning of each semester we plan and book out our shows in advance, and then send out our information docs to the bands so it’s all organized, but because of the COVID-19 we had to cancel about 10-15 shows and it sucked because we had so many talented bands lined up. I just wanted to give them as big of a platform as possible. However, we also recently put out a Google for asking about people’s experience and we got so many replies being like “I never would have expected to get involved in the music scene until someone invited them to a “house show” and now they have branched out and gone to other house shows in West Philly and such.

Beck: Moving Forward do you have any plans for the soda bar?

Angelina: So it might take a while but, but I want it to continue to be a real venue in Philly, in a sense similar to that of Johnny Brenda’s, where it’s a bar/ venue, so it can stay on brand with the Soda Bar’s culture. However, for the next year and a half we’ll probably be sticking to virtual events/ sessions. I’m living alone next year, but I have a massive living room, so I don’t mind making that a production space for bands to come in and perform.

Venue Profile: The Soda Bar

by Beck Macey

Venue Profile: The Soda Bar

Beck: How would you describe the Soda Bar and what led you to start it?

Angelina: When we had just started, the Glass Onion had just shut down and there was no music scene in North Philly. So, it was unfortunate, and we knew as college students, especially at Temple, the commute out to house venues in west and south wasn’t necessarily annoying, but it would deter our desire to go. I knew I really wanted to support the scene as much as possible because a lot of my friends are musicians, so my friends and I, Sidra, Owen, and Danielle cleared out my basement last year and we started throwing shows. So, it started out as like 35 people coming and it quickly grew because we were involved with WHIP and we had an audience based on that and so it quickly grew to over 200 people coming into our house. Our main focus was and is to get these bands larger followings in order to grow.

Beck: So, I recently saw that you guys are closing up for a bit, so I’d love to hear about some of your favorite memories/ shows you’ve had?

Angelina: There have been a lot of amazing shows, and I can ­­­pinpoint some of them, but overall, all of them have been amazing. Its honestly made me so proud of what we can do for these bands and bringing in that kind of revenue for them is insane. I think my favorite show was probably the Carly Cosgrove EP release show, that was an incredible show. Carly Cosgrove’s first show ever was actually at the Soda Bar about a year ago at the first Soda Bar and then they started blowing up. I know Beach Fuzz as well, Ross’s solo project’s EP release show had the largest attendance in Soda Bar history with 224 people who came out, and then of course Rubber is another band that’s been great.

Beck: What has been the most challenging part of running the venue?

Angelina: There was a lack of communication in the leadership, as always when you mix business with your friends things can get complicated, so like, somebody had to set up. So, Sidra and I stepped up, and we had two other sound engineers move in with us this past year and that really helped out. However, overall, I think the biggest complication was making sure everyone was always on the same page about stuff, and eventually we got there. Sometimes we had smaller issues like getting things stolen, but usually that just became jokes. But the greatest thing about the community is that if someone saw something, they usually would say something.

Beck: What have you been doing during COVID-19 to keep music alive/ What has been the most challenging part of COVID-19?

Angelina: So, we have our Soda Spotlights series where we do livestreams of individual bands, and we just had our last one for now. Now we’re gonna take a little bit of a break for the next few months. To answer the second part of the question, at the beginning of each semester we plan and book out our shows in advance, and then send out our information docs to the bands so it’s all organized, but because of the COVID-19 we had to cancel about 10-15 shows and it sucked because we had so many talented bands lined up. I just wanted to give them as big of a platform as possible. However, we also recently put out a Google for asking about people’s experience and we got so many replies being like “I never would have expected to get involved in the music scene until someone invited them to a “house show” and now they have branched out and gone to other house shows in West Philly and such.

Beck: Moving Forward do you have any plans for the soda bar?

Angelina: So it might take a while but, but I want it to continue to be a real venue in Philly, in a sense similar to that of Johnny Brenda’s, where it’s a bar/ venue, so it can stay on brand with the Soda Bar’s culture. However, for the next year and a half we’ll probably be sticking to virtual events/ sessions. I’m living alone next year, but I have a massive living room, so I don’t mind making that a production space for bands to come in and perform.