Goodbye to Juanita’s

Sarah Graham, Writer

Off President Clinton Avenue in downtown Little Rock, the dark walls of Juanita’s Cafe and Bar are decorated with dancing skeletons and butterflies made out of vinyl records, hypnotizing the crowd during every concert. Though students have enjoyed the venue’s food and shows, Juanita’s will be closing Dec. 20.

Sophomore Hannah Fort recalls seeing the rock band Framing Hanley.

“I felt very at home,” Fort said. “Whenever I got there, the band was sitting downstairs in the same restaurant we were, so we got to talk to them and take pictures.”

Juanita’s is known for their tight but interactive venue. There are few seats on the floor, leaving the majority of the crowd to gather around the stage. Fort a fan of this setup.

“I’m always at the front,” Fort said. “I get there to where I can sneak up to the very front of the stage, and I’ll high-five the artists that are playing.”

Junior John Hampton, a Juanita’s regular, prefers a small venue over a huge arena.

“A front row seat at Verizon [Arena] is probably over one hundred dollars, and often times there’s these massive barriers where you can’t be right up with the band,” Hampton said. “[Juanita’s] is a lot more intimate. You could literally climb up on the stage if you wanted to.”

Hampton enjoys seeing his favorite metal bands playing within touching distance, and  part of the stimulating crowds as well.

“I’m in those mosh pits all the time,” Hampton said. “It’s almost like two bulls fighting. [Crowd members] will kind of just point their shoulders and push into each other. It looks kind of weird, but it’s actually really fun once you get into the music.”

Junior Gavin Patterson enjoys getting lost in softer music. He recently saw the Plain White T’s at Juanitas.

“I enjoyed the whole vibe of the place,” Patterson said. “It’s like in Percy Jackson when they go into the casino and they travel forward in time without realizing. It was amazing.”

Senior Kat Roberts says that she loves attending  each new show at Juanita’s, knowing every new band brings a new aura.

“It’s constructed more on whom you’re seeing,” Roberts said. “During Elvis Depressedly, the restaurant had a very serene ambience and his acoustic songs really emphasized the casualness. It really just depends on who you’re there for.”

Roberts will miss the surprise of each concert.

“Listening to the live bands play is just fun and every show is different. You never know what to expect from the concerts you’re seeing. I’m just thankful I got to enjoy the venue while I still could.”