The Psychedelic Ballroom in downtown Reno is a modern art museum and a music venue to boot.
Located in what is becoming known as the Brewery District on 4th street, the Psychedelic Ballroom and Jukejoint, or PB&J’s for short, is adorned with what must be one of the greatest music poster collections in the world.
Co-owner Chris Hubbell, 48, began the collection in the early 1990s when he traveled from his hometown Reno to San Francisco, where he reveled in the city’s burgeoning music scene. Each of the hundreds of concert tickets displayed are from shows Hubbell attended.
Hubbell said the venue celebrates the live experience.
“This is not about a life on YouTube,” he said. “These are memories you have to experience,” he said.
A self-described “reformed Luddite,” Hubbell started an Internet account when he opened PB&J’s last August with business partner Mike Klein. The 450-capacity venue is the old Underground, and it presents a wide variety of music, from punk to bluegrass, several nights each week.
“We tried to give Reno a nice music venue and people have been very receptive to that,” he said. “Reno has been really good about supporting live music.”
A sign out front reads, “We Proudly Support Local Musicians. Ask our bartenders for tickets to upcoming shows.” Heavy metal-era posters behind plexiglass are on wall at the entrance. Even the restrooms are decorated, the men’s with punk rock.
“Poster purists would lose their minds,” Hubbell said, adding he won’t sell anything from his collection. “The eBay culture is not for me.”
PB&J’s is a musicologist’s heaven and a Nirvana fan’s paradise. Each wall contains posters and tickets from different music genres. There also are a few movie posters. “Modern country music is the result of ‘Urban Cowboy,’ and without ‘Saturday Night Fever’ (from the 1970s) and ‘The Twist’ (from the ’60s), you would not have EDM (electronic dance music) today,” Hubbell said.
Hubbell is featured in the book “The Art of Modern Rock” by Paul Grushkin and Denis King.
PB&J’s also has vintage pinball machines, including Classic Kiss Pinball and the Who’s Wizard Pinball.
PB&J’s is a bar Tuesday through Saturday and music typically is presents Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. On nights when there is music, those under 21 receive X’s on both hands and are served refreshments in the pinball “barcade” (not at the bar). They can go on dance floor, but have no in-out privileges from the venue.
Reno’s Wabuska Yachting Club and Friends is a weekly open mic blues-dance night that will be held each Thursday at 7 p.m. starting on Jan. 7.
Earlier this month, national blues star Tommy Castro performed here, and last week death metal’s Soulfly played PB&J’s.
“So far they are doing a good job and keeping it clean,” said Honch, a Reno resident who did not want to reveal his last name. “The sound quality is good. Now that I understand where he’s coming from with his own poster collection, it’s hell yeah.”
Born Dead Productions music promoter Josh Leash was happy to book Soulfly at the venue.
“It’s crisp, it’s clear,” Lease said. “It’s loud and in your face and what you want in a rock and roll club.”
The 4th Street location offers plenty of parking in the area, with three brew pubs nearby, Pigeon Head, The Depot and Under the Rose.