Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at OttawaMagazine.com. Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani.
Sound Seekers took a tour of the new House of Targ perogie and pinball palace on Bank Street last week. The varnish on the bar was still tacky, and there was plenty of drilling, sawing, and hammering going on. That racket will continue even though the renovations are done. House of Targ launches with the loud sounds of Toronto’s PUP (you may have heard the punk band on CBC’s Q a few weeks ago; listen to their album below) on April 17. Here are some fun facts about the new hangout.
1. Pat Much painted the murals. There’s a wizard on the back wall and a skull in the band room.
2. In addition to live music, you can enjoy six different kinds of perogies, including a vegan and gluten-free variety; one with seasonal mushrooms and shallots; and a dessert pierogi.
4. The basement venue used to be a jazz and blues club called The New Bayou.
5. The 4,000-square-foot space has a capacity of 180.
6. House of Targ is open Thursday to Sunday, and occasionally on Monday through Wednesday, if a good show is coming through town.
7. Dinner and games will take place from 4—9 p.m. (all ages), with shows happening from 9 p.m.—2 a.m. (19+).
9. Games run on loonies and quarters; there’s always a game on free play.
10. One game will always take coins for charity. It’ll be clearly marked every night.
11. Sundays are free play nights with music from DJ KJ Maxx of the band Mother’s Children. $5 gets you in.
12. PUP plays opening night on April 17. Owner Paul “Yogi” Granger’s cousin is in the band.
13. Fiftymen play opening week, on Saturday, April 19.
14. The House of Targ managers plan to put out a monthly zine with show details and a scene report.
15. The bar is run by Granger, Mark McHale, and Kevin Birger from The Visitors and Neck.
16. They have a 10-year lease on the space. “We’re trying to do something long term, for sure,” Granger says.
17. Getting the space ready meant re-doing the floor, stripping the walls, sanding everything, painting ceilings and floors — and putting down seven coats of wax on the floor.
18. The owners took out a non-structural wall to create an open kitchen. They put in a DJ booth and band room where the old beer fridge was located.
19. Community! “We’ve paid for all the materials, but everyone has volunteered their time,” Granger says. “It’s been total community support which is really humbling. I don’t think we could afford it if everyone hadn’t pitched in.”
20. The arcade games and videos are all old style. The place has some 20 to 30 machines.
22. House of Targ comes from Targ, the name of a game. “It’s kind of like Pac-Man, but you’re a little ship and you can shoot and you can go a lot faster,” Granger says. It’s quick and intense and you die really quickly.”
23. Targ is the first game someone dropped off at Granger’s jam space on Main Street. “We fixed it and it started off this whole thing.”
24. The spot on Main street is still a jam space, but it has been sold to new owners and will likely be turned into condos in two or three years, or at least that’s what Granger is hearing.
25. Granger is not playing with Ukrainia for the moment. That band is busy touring and playing festivals. Granger is currently playing with Black Bread and Cloven Hoofs.
26. The three bar owners will also act as sound guys.
27. “We’re going to try to match shows with sound guys — so it’s aligned with the sound guy’s interest in a certain style of music,” Granger says. “When the soundman is having fun that’s a good thing. When you have the same sound guy night after night, they tend to turn into Cranky Sound Guy without a lot of patience.”
28. The games, with their ringers and buzzers, will be turned off before quieter, soft-seat-style shows.
29. House of Targ is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for perogie production. Chef Royle and two other cooks work for two days to make 3,600—4,000 perogies at a time.
30. There’s gear! The drum kit comes from Dave’s Drum Shop and the amps come from Spaceman Music, which means bands don’t have to change over their gear between sets or lug all their stuff to the club.