To anyone heading down Grand Avenue, the outside of The Groove on Grand looks like a typical building. But discretely tucked behind it is a small community, complete with art, eclectic furniture and beer.
The Groove on Grand is a community of businesses in World War II prisoner of war houses huddled around a courtyard that is filled with a wide mix of furniture and a fire pit. The collection of historic cottages can be found on Grand and Eleventh avenues.
The property, owned by Laurie and Tom Carmody, contains the former location of the popular coffee house Paisley Violin and six cottages. Current businesses include a bar called Red House Pub, a hair salon named Kustumz Hairshop, a music promoter, eyeglasses repair shop, guitar students and an artist collective called Muse Gallery Boutique that also sells clothes, jewelry and purses.
Red House Pub patrons spill over into a deck attached to the side of the pub’s cottage. The pub has a bar with a couple of stools inside and a side window where people on the deck can order or pick up drinks, said Red House Pub Owner Tanya Craven. The bar also has live music and a weekend hot dog vendor.
Red House Pub opened on Oct. 17, two days before the Fifth Annual Grand Avenue Festival that celebrated recent street improvements that included bike lanes and on-street parking on Grand Avenue, Laurie Carmody said.
Grand Avenue has one other bar called the Bikini Lounge near Roosevelt Street but lacked something on the South side near Van Buren Street, Laurie Carmody said. They thought the Red House Pub would be a good addition to the Groove on Grand.
Craven said the Groove on Grand has a unique vibe.
“There’s a really interesting synergy throughout the whole project,” Craven said. “People (who) stop in to the space all say it – ‘I feel this energy.’”
Each cottage is only 240 square feet, Laurie Carmody said. The buildings were originally used for German prisoners of war at Papago Park.
The Carmody couple acquired the cottages and moved them to the space in 2007 for artists to use, Laurie Carmody said. But after the economic downturn in 2008, a lot of artists were unable to sustain themselves and moved away from Grand Avenue, she said.
Paisley Violin closed, and soon after, the businesses in the cottages followed suit and the space remained vacant for two years, she said.
“They started moving back to Grand as the economy started to have a little bit of an upswing and people started looking at art again,” Laurie Carmody said.
Someone might come to the Groove on Grand for a haircut at Kustumz and meet up with friends who may be going to Muse, Craven said. And afterward, they might all decide buy a drink at Red House Pub.
Local resident Shannon Rosset, 42, said she has come to the Groove on Grand every week since Red House Pub opened.
“I love it,” Rosset said. “I got my hair done. I got a purse last week.”
The former Paisley Violin building also contains a chocolatier, an art gallery and occasionally hosts performances by the art performance group called Open Canvas, Craven said.
Craven said people love the space’s environment.
“The people from the neighborhood that are here say, ‘oh we just love this place so much. It’s so relaxed,’” Craven said. “But we know it’s going to change soon because it’s going to get busy.”
Bianca Arriaga, 28, said she was driving home after work with Andres Gonzalez, 33, when she noticed the Groove On Grand.
“I think it’s – I don’t know if ‘cute’ is the word, but I think it is,” Arriaga said.
Laurie Carmody said they hope to open the community space in the Paisley Violin building for visiting chefs as well as wine and chocolate events.
Local artist Holly Vesely will be painting a mural on the outside of the community building, Laurie Carmody said.
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Correction: Nov. 12, 2013
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the location of The Groove on Grand. It is located at Grand and Eleventh avenues.