1993 - 2017
79-80 Washington St. Providence, RI
The Strand opened its doors on June 12, 1915 as a vaudeville theater. With the impending rise of cinema, the building soon played host to a movie theater. In the 1970s, it apparently morphed into an adult theater not surprising considering the state of Downcity at that point in time: “During the 1970s…Downtown was known mainly for its collection of porn shops, strip clubs, and dive bars". As the city’s image improved in the 1990s, the Strand reopened as a home for live music establishing it as a potential candidate to house the soon to be Lupo's at The Strand.
A photo of the Strand Theater building from 1919 shows a corner dedicated to a shop selling “hats” and “furnishings.” Not much has changed in eighty years—the same corner now houses a Dunkin Donuts. And the theaters themselves are similar—the Strand of 1919 seems a fitting precursor to the Lupo’s of 2009 in form and spirit. Both versions sport charmingly tacky light-up signs above cute little box offices unassumingly advertising the coming shows. Moreover, the building reveals no visible signs of remodeling from one picture to the other.
Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel to relocate to the Strand
BY IAN DONNIS
Settling a long-running dispute and maintaining the downtown presence of Providence’s landmark rock ‘n’ roll club, Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel plans to relocate a block away in early December, settling into the Strand nightclub on Washington Street. "Even two to three days ago, I thought I might just stay at Lupo’s [current location on Westminster Street]," club owner Rich Lupo said in an interview as this week’s Phoenix was going to press, "but this really does seem to be the best thing to do for the longevity of the club and to satisfy so many needs."
Under a complex licensing agreement worked out between Lupo, Arnold "Buff" Chace, the owner of Lupo’s current home in the Peerless Building, and nightlife impresario Mike Kent, who holds the lease for using the Strand, Lupo has the option to present live music at the Strand for up to 15 years. In order to accommodate Kent’s dance club business at the Strand – and following a wider industry trend -- the Lupo-presented shows need to conclude by 10:30 p.m. on Thursday through Sunday nights. Lupo’s will be able to offer entertainment later into the night, he says, on Mondays through Wednesdays.
The club owner says a closing night at the Westminster Street location, dubbed, "Lupo’s Last Stand," will be marked on Wednesday, December 3. "A lot of bands are signing up, right off the bat," he says. "We plan to give a piece of Lupo’s," particularly from the band rooms, "to any customer that wants it." Although it will take a little time to line up live bookings for the new venue, Lupo’s could mark its start at the Strand, Lupo says, as early as Monday, December 8.
The 1200-person capacity of the Strand is smaller than Lupo’s 1500-person capacity, although, Lupo says, the opening of balcony space toward the end of January will expand the capacity to 2000 and enable the booking of more big shows – the kind, he says, "that would prefer to be in a theater." At the same time, the move from Westminster Street will also mean the closing of the Lupo-owned Met Café, a venue for many local acts and more eclectic touring bands, like the Pernice Brothers, Juliana Hatfield, and Southern Culture on the Skids.