Probably Toronto’s most iconic live music dive has been purchased by the owner of Parkdale’s Cadillac Lounge, Sam Grosso, and 99 Sudbury owner Marco Petrucci.
The El Mocambo has been hurting for some time and owner Abbas Jahangiri decided to leave it in better hands while he takes off to Haiti to focus on missionary work, or so the story goes.
$3-million was the price tag on the legendary El Mo, which has hosted everyone from U2 to Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Costello and The Rolling Stones. Costello and The Stones both recorded live albums inside the venue; Live at the El Mocambo and Love You Live, respectively.
The plan now is to return the club back to its glory years – only cleaner, according to the new owners. The El Mocambo sign will be lit up once again in all its neon glory. Lighting, air conditioning and heating will all be improved. The bar will return to working order and a dinner menu much like the one at Cadillac Lounge will be introduced to the bar.
The two plan on making major renovations to the second level and return the stage to the middle of the room, with two bars on each end as it was originally set up in the ‘70s. They also hope to get a patio license to open up a rooftop patio overlooking Spadina.
The El Mocambo first opened as a music venue in 1850, and the name and palm tree sign have been in place since 1946. In 2011, Jahangiri purchased the venue and renovated both floors to book a wide range of musical acts.
Grosso and Petrucci figure it’ll take about eight months to restore the El Mo back to its roots.