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The Blue Note had its grand opening back in 1927 as The Varsity Theater. Built by Tom C. Hall, the building was one of three theaters in the downtown area and played movies until 1960.

In 1980, two great friends and music lovers decided to buy a space on the north side of Columbia, MO and turn it into a music venue. The club was away from downtown and The University of Missouri’s campus, but that didn’t stop Richard King and Phil Costello from turning the place into the hotspot for live music. What started with local and regional bands quickly turned into now-legendary bands taking the stage (The Pixies, The Replacements, R.E.M. and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, just to name a few).

A decade later, King moved the club to the historic theater downtown that we know and love today as The Blue Note. He expanded his business in 1999 with the purchase of Mojo’s (now Rose Music Hall/Rose Park) a smaller venue also located in downtown Columbia that welcomed artists such as Arcade Fire and The Black Keys before they hit it big. In 2014, King sold the venue to Scott Leslie and Matt Gerding, and along with Rose Music Hall, it is currently operated by FPC Live.

Beyond live music, The Blue Note also features stand-up comedy, dance parties, weddings, community events, and even “Brew n’ View” movies from time to time. Who knows, we may even host an occasional burlesque show now and then to liven things up! 

There’s a lot of great live music to discover, and no one can disagree: Beer Tastes Better in the Front Row. Look for even more live music and events at our sister venue, Rose Music Hall!