Tucked along Taughannock Boulevard, nestled next to the shore of Cayuga lake is a non-descript, one story building. It’s not the first place you would think musicians would flock to perform, but The Dock, a new bar at the base of the Ithaca’s own finger lake is gathering a lot of attention and some big name musicians like Jefferson Starship. The new bar and music venue is an interesting addition to the Ithaca music scene and offers a modern but relaxed atmosphere and aesthetic.
Shoes to Fill
The bar opened last month on February 24 and has already gotten a lot of attention in the social media realm. An active Facebook page frequently offers their drink specials and they take advantage of advertising through social outlets. The bar is an interesting addition to the bar scene in Ithaca, as it replaced Castaways, a bar which closed down about a year ago and left the building vacant.
“I had always loved Castaways, it was one of my favorite bars,” Racquel Riccardi, bartender at The Dock and Ithaca native, said. “So the idea of working at a music venue was pretty optimal for me.”
Castaways was a popular hangout for both Cornell and Ithaca students as well as locals, and when it closed, many were devastated, but The Dock offers a new chance to rebuild the same type of atmosphere.
“I was pretty excited about [The Dock],” Riccardi said. “It was cool to see all the changes that were done and how it was much improved. It was really exciting to see.”
Premiere for Music
Even though it is mainly a bar, The Dock is clearly set up for music. With a large stage and open space for people to mill, it’s the perfect venue for both local bands and larger artists to gather an audience. In the behind the scenes elements of setting up shows, bartenders are involved with observing the setups and sound checks as the bands work with Dan Smalls, who brings all the shows to The Dock.
One of the security employees, Steve Petersen, said that when it comes to setup and producing the show, security depends on the musician’s preferences.
“It really depends on the musicians and how many people they’re bringing in – that determines how much security we have,” he said.
The excitement that a show setup and actual performance brings creates a passion for both audience members and The Dock employees.
“Just feeling the energy of everyone around. It’s really fun to see,” Riccardi said.
Story to Success
As The Dock gathers more fans, it’s populated by people from many walks of life.
“I meet interesting people, some more wild than others,” said Petersen.
Riccardi said she thinks the bar being away from the main stretch of Ithaca’s population assists the bar’s popularity. It draws a different crowd, but a more dedicated one.
“I think it helps, because you’re not right in it. You’re not in that crowd and everybody can go and do their own thing.”
Music is what will keep The Dock alive. Advertised as “Ithaca’s premiere music venue,” only time will tell if the bar will keep its buzz. But The Dock employees are excited and hopeful. As Riccardi said, “It’s live music. No matter what it is, it’s always fun.”