The address of 104 Flaming Lips Alley may not mean much to passers-by, but Brent Brewer remembers when it was the home of O'Brien's — Bricktown's first mainstream live music venue and the state's first karaoke bar.
“We had dueling piano bars, and everyone embraced it as an entertainment venue,” Brewer recalled Thursday. Back then, in the late 1980s, Bricktown consisted of Spaghetti Warehouse, Piggy's Barbeque, O'Brien's and an annual haunted warehouse that Jim Brewer started up to draw people to the forgotten warehouse district east of the central business district.
From there, live music flourished, with a series of outdoor concerts and other live venues. But in recent years, Brewer acknowledges, Bricktown lost its momentum and the city itself seemed to be losing out too many concerts to Tulsa.
Brewer is hoping the old O'Brien's, later known as Bricktown Live, will again make the district a live music destination and has trusted the task to Bob and Norm Bekoff, who in the past two years have drawn crowds with outdoor live performances at the canal-side bar Captain Norm's.
With both Captain Norm's and Bricktown Music Hall, Brewer, the landlord, has lent his experience and contacts in the music business to the Bekoffs as they've booked acts. Norm Bekoff said the canal-side, outdoor Captain Norm's has been a huge success despite having no precedent when it opened in August, 2011.
“It was a slam dunk,” Bekoff said. “If you look at the layout of Captain Norm's, there is an area in the upper part of the patio that presents itself perfectly for live entertainment. It looks like it was designed so it would be that way.”