Best Country Music Venue - 2013
Though it's become better known as a rock club of late, the Turf Club has over the years managed to cling to its origins as a country bar where folks came to two-step back in the 1940s, a time when it operated as a post-Prohibition bar, restaurant, and entertainment venue named for its founders Kirch & Gillis. This was a time when streetcars connected the twin downtowns and University Avenue figured large as an entertainment and retail corridor, with movie theaters and dance halls like the big-band-friendly Prom Ballroom dotting it from east to west. The Turf Club didn't gain its current moniker until around 1950, when the bar changed hands. The name is thought to be a reference to the long-gone racetrack and stables operated nearby starting in 1881. But that detail is easy to forget as modern-day fans gather there still today to two-step to the likes of the Cactus Blossoms, the traditional country act that's held residency on the main stage every Monday since early 2012, as well as the consistently strong roster of both local and national underground, alt, and outlaw country acts that visit the venue regularly.