It was not so long ago that you had a choice to make. You could eat a good meal, or you could head out and listen to good music, usually over a crummy meal if anything. The past few years have brought a revival in the local music scene with more quality restaurants getting in on the local music act. Add SO Restuarant to that list.
SO breaks the trend with their SOunds from the Cellar series by adding music on Monday nights, where most restaurants typically shoot for the latter half of the week. Given that so few good restaurants serve Monday dinner, it is a great combination of music and food on a night where either is hard to find.
The series has been going for a few weeks now, and the focus has been on upcoming local artists. The downstairs area that is typically reserved for private parties is the perfect intimate atmosphere to enjoy a glass of wine while getting to know the musician.
“We decided to try and raise support for our local music scene by having local artists playing original music in our cozy downstairs party room,” General Manager Thomas Spencer tells us.
The music lineup is curated by music service agency Record Realization Music Services, who handles the process of booking local artist for SO. We slipped in last Monday to hear Hot Springs native Ryan Sauders play and found it to be a perfect match for the venue.
The small set of just a guitar and mic was perfect to fill the space without being overwhelming. Something that is a hard balancing act. All too often the musician either feels like a quiet afterthought or an overbearing presence in spaces like this. The acts coming through SO seem to match the atmosphere perfectly for a good relaxing evening out.
The downstairs area features a full cocktail menu, a surprisingly amazing regional craft beer selection, and their always strong wine list. In addition to the standard menu they also offer a cocktail special for the show ($5 old fashioneds last week) and several quality bottles of wine on special. The full restaurant menu, which was recently updated, is available.
Tonight Tyler Sellers from Conway will be performing in the cellar. Sellers, like Ryan Sauders, fits nicely into the atmosphere of the space with strong acoustic sound that will make it a night to remember. Sellers is also a strong up and coming local musician, having won two previous singer/songwriter competitions and is releasing his first album soon.
The SOngs from the Cellar series is something SO hopes to continue during their season when the private room is typically available.
“If this is something our customers and friends would like to see more of, please come and show support on Monday nights,” Spencer says. “We would love any input in deciding if this would be a benefit for our community until the Christmas season comes around again.”
The show starts tonight at 6:30, no reservations required.