BY DYLAN LONG Walking her dog along the streets of Ardmore last summer, Philly music scene veteran Laura Mann happened upon a distinctive Masonic building that struck her fancy. “I have to see the inside of it, she said to herself. Fast forward to September 4, 2021, Ardmore will officially become home to the new-and-improved Living Room 35 E, a 300-400 music space pioneered by Laura Mann, a veteran of the Philly music scene. Located at 35 E. Ardmore Avenue, the titular venue is a precise set of steps away from her previous space, Living Room 35 East, notably located at 35 E. Lancaster Avenue.
“It’s really cool and fun that it worked out to have the same address,” said Mann, after her original Ardmore space was shuttered by the ongoing global pandemic.
“I want people to wear masks when they come in, I want people to be vaccinated or show a covid test at the door,” said Laura on reopening during what is now another daunting phase of the ongoing pandemic. The new venue, which will serve a variety of light snacks, beverages, and continue to allow BYOB, comes after the pandemic caused the original and much more intimate space to shut down.
Not only was the previous space far too small to comfortably social distance, she said, the artists she had her eye on, people like Marshall Crenshaw and John Waite, typically draw far more fans than she could comfortably fit in the 40-capacity space.
“You can’t have somebody that’s a big national artist come in and make the numbers work with that many people,” she said.
While told by many that the original venue was a risk back in 2018, it became an award-winning live room destined for glory. Needless to say, the pandemic brought that momentum to a dead halt.
While perhaps a bit nostalgic for the more intimate setting she previously had, Mann seems more hopeful than ever for the future to come.
“It’s really cool. I have a lot more opportunity with who I can bring in now with the size of the venue,” she said.
The grand reopening of the Living Room 35 E takes place Saturday, September 4th, featuring feel-good folk-rockers US Rails. The venue’s quickly-growing calendar will feature performances from Mr. Crenshaw (10/16) and Mr. Waite (11/07) and more, in addition to also serving a space for movie nights, stand up, and live conversations. Check out the venue’s updated website here.