Water Street Music Hall returns to Rochester

Lynette Adams
Created: October 21, 2019 07:35 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Once called Country Warehouse and the Horizontal Boogie Bar, the downtown venue is re-opening its doors as Water Street Music Hall 2020 and a restaurant called Jack's on Water Street.

The opening concert is Sunday with  90's hip hop performer Biz Markie and former Salt n Pepa DJ Spinderella.


In its heyday, the club was a popular venue.

"We've had 300 sell-outs over the years and we were named the number one club in Rochester for multiple years," owner Peter Sewell said.

In more recent years, several violent incidents after events led to a number of city-ordered closings. 

Eight separate incidents cost Water Street its license in 2016.

Sewell has been away in San Diego and Las Vegas for two decades, but he decided to come home and re-invent Water Street Music Hall.

 "I'm just convinced we're back on the right track and going back to the most successful concert venue in Rochester," Sewell said.

Sewell is putting the finishing touches on renovations in time for this weekend's concert.

The new restaurant has already opened. 

The space can hold up to 300 people.

"We're going for a little older clientele this time," Sewell said, "so many people told us that Water Street was the first place that I came for a concert when I was in high school. We just won't be doing that anymore." 

Sewell says security will be tight and he's working with well-known Rochester comedian and promoter Jay Real.

 "My crowd is pretty much the older working class citizen who has money and wants to do something and enjoy themselves. I've built up that following," Real said, referring to his 100,000 followers on social media.

Real has a 10-year track record in Rochester and says he will book a variety of bands and events.

"People know that a Jay Real event is going to be a good time and safe," Real said.

Real put together Sunday's 5 o'clock concert.

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