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Second Story Nightclub

From Bloomingpedia
Second Story
Open Date: 1981
Address: 201 S. College Ave.

Bloomington, IN 47401

Phone: (812) 334-3232
Owner(s): Phil Rhoades
Manager(s): {{{manager}}}
Hours: ???

Second Story was a live music venue on the corner of Fourth Street and College Avenue. It booked a diverse range of music genres. It was owned and operated under the same license as Bullwinkle's nightclub, which was housed in the lower half of the building. In November of 2006, Second Story and Bullwinkle's closed.


The space that Second Story and Bullwinkle's shared used to be a Moose Lodge. Circa 1980, Bob Reichert, founder of Gulcher Records, recognized that the space above Bullwinkle's wasn't being used beyond the occasional drag show from Bullwinkle's. Bob produced at least one punk rock show there, in 1980, featuring DOA from Vancouver B.C. The entrance at that time was the original lodge's, at 201 S. College Ave. Downstairs was the former lodge bar, which became Bullwinkle's bar and disco. Another flight of stairs at the entrance led to the upstairs hall.

Realizing that the upstairs space could be used on a regular basis, longtime WQAX DJ Gary Indiana (later known as Gary X Indiana) made a deal with the building's owner, Phil Rhoades, and booked a series of weekly concerts there until early 1981. (Gary spun records downstairs a few times as well.) The concerts were billed as being at Bullwinkle's. Punk rockers, new wave kids, drag queens, gays and lesbians, and other attendees were frequently subjected to drive-by harassment by local homophobes. The concert booking arrangement between Indiana and Rhoades was canceled after a money-losing concert by a Chicago new-wave band.

Second Story was then born from an idea shared by two former Bullwinkle's DJ's, Mike Dommermuth and Lee Williams. The name came from Phil Rhoades, who helped get the project off it's feet in '81. Originally accessed through Bullwinkle's College Avenue entry, Second Story didn't have an entrance on Fourth Street for some time.

Williams handled the booking for the first year, until he handed the position over to Jazz Fables founder David Miller and Denise Self. He returned to the booking position in 1993, only to leave again in 1999.

Second Story closed it's doors in 2003, although it continued to host the drag shows from Bullwinkle's. At the prodding of original founder, Lee Williams, it re-opened its doors in February of 2004 with a new booker, Marc Tschida, who had previously booked for Vertigo.

List of Acts


  • Perry, J.J.: "Changes in store for Second Story", Herald Times, (3 December 1999)
  • Coonce, David: "The return of second story", Herald Times, (12 February 2004)
  • Romano, Aja: "Bullwinkle's takes its act upstairs to Second Story", Herald Times, (20 March 2003)
  • Graham, Andy: "Second Story closes", Herald Times, (8 November 2006)