Coffee shop by day, music venue by night

Satyrdagg perform to a full crowd at The Coffee Bar in Bennington last year. Sue Allen - Vermont Country file photo

By Gena Mangiaratti, Vermont Country Magazine.

BENNINGTON — If you’ve been in downtown Bennington, you may have stopped for a maple latte and even viewed the art at The Coffee Bar, which opened last year.

But did you know that by night, it becomes a hip, intimate music venue?

“There’s been shows where people have their feet up on the stage right in front of the musician, and they’re looking them right in the eye, and it creates this really intimate environment where the performer can really connect with the audience” 

Will Seeders, a local musician who books and organizes shows in the space at 109 South St.

He describes the venue as a long, narrow space, at least four times as long as it is wide. He recalls that when the owner, his friend Paul Carroccio, set it up, he purposefully placed the stage in the middle, facing the narrower portion of the room. 

Talented young musicians who took part in a local Chamber Music Intensive play at The Coffee Bar in Bennington over the summer. Stewart Cairns — Vermont Country file photo

“There’s people spread out all on the side, kind of 180 degrees around the stage, and it creates a really intimate environment,” Seeders said. “We have a really excellent sound system that rivals any sound system in any small venue in the Northeast, honestly. It might be one of the best. Because of the quality of gear that Paul decided to put in the room, it sounds incredible.”

Seeders noted that in most clubs with a long listening space, the stage is at one of the shorter ends, meaning there are always people in back who can’t hear as well. 

“The Coffee Bar is kind of the opposite where everybody has a good seat. Everybody can hear really well and it creates a really intimate, really fun place to see a show,” he said.

He said the venue has hosted full bands with sets that resemble a rock show, as well as solo musicians playing folk shows.

“They’ve all worked pretty well,” he said. 

Among upcoming shows is a holiday concert with Vermont favorites Kat Wright and Brett Hughes, Dec. 2, specific time and ticket sales to be announced. To stay updated on future shows, visit The Coffee Bar on Facebook.

Kat Wright and Brett Hughes plan to return to The Coffee Bar in Bennington for this season’s holiday show. Photo provided by Kat Wright.

Performers this year have included Cliff Westfall, The Clements Brothers, Peter Mulvey / Betty Soo, and Kat & Brad (Kathleen Parks & Brad Bensko).

Florence Dore is among musicians who have played at The Coffee Bar in Bennington. Photo provided.

Seeders said some performers that have played The Coffee Bar have gone on to become festival headliners and tour the country.

“All of the performers are so happy when they leave because of the quality of the audience, the sound and just the experience of that connection with the audience in the room and how they feel like it really showcased their music,” Seeders said. “On top of all of this, a really unique feature of The Coffee Bar is, it’s not just a coffee bar. It’s also kind of a local art gallery. Every inch of the walls is covered in incredible art, mostly by local artists.”

Gen Louise Mangiaratti, is editor of Vermont Country magazine and is arts & entertainment editor for Vermont News & Media. She lives in Brattleboro with her cat, Theodora, and welcomes your post-idyllic holiday music recommendations at gmangiaratti@reformer.com.

Vermont Country magazine

Vermont Country has a hyperlocal focus on the Green Mountain lifestyle, its personalities, events, attractions and culture. The magazine appears six times a year, designed to complement the state and four-season living. VtCo magazine is a Southern Vermont publication of Vermont News & Media.

Previous Story

The Reluctant Panther: Where history and innovation invigorate the plate

Next Story

The Art of Gifting: Southern Vermont’s Unique Holiday Shopping Experiences

Latest from Arts