Three months after closing its doors in the face of COVID-19, Hotel Congress is reopening on Oct. 1.
The historic downtown hotel at 311 E. Congress St. will pick up where it left off, hosting live concerts on its patio, including teaming up with Tucson's venerable music series Rhythm & Roots for its "Taco Tuesdays" series beginning Oct. 6.
The series kicks off with the homecoming of Chris Brashear, who joins his longtime musical partner Peter McLaughlin for an evening of acoustic folk/bluegrass. The pair, award-winning virtuosos on guitar, fiddle and mandolin, also sport some pretty stunning vocal harmonies.
Rhythm & Roots coordinator Susan Holden, who has collaborated with Hotel Congress in the past, said the artists are "very excited to get back on stage." And with the socially-distanced setup in the hotel's sprawling courtyard and COVID-19 protocols, including requiring guests to wear masks, Holden said the artists have not expressed any concerns about the safety of returning to the stage.
"Several of them have said we just want to play," Holden said.
"The musicians are really excited," added Hotel Congress entertainment director David Slutes. "They haven't had much opportunity to get out and play in front of an audience since March. We hope folks come out to safely support Tucson musicians.”
Among the COVID-19 measures Hotel Congress has implemented to keep patrons and musicians safe is lowering the plaza's capacity from 600 to 100, with tables spaced at least 6 feet apart; installing hand-sanitizing stations; and closing off the dance floor.
The music series fall on days that Hotel Congress’s Cup Cafe is not serving dinner. The restaurant is closed for dinner service on Sundays through Wednesdays; it is open for breakfast and lunch only on those days and for dinner service Thursdays through Saturdays.
Admission to the Rhythm & Roots shows is $8 per person, with proceeds benefiting the musicians. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7. Food will be available for sale by the Hotel Congress food truck on the patio.
Hotel Congress has two other series — Soul Food Wednesdays, which will feature a different African-American-owned food truck; and Sunday Blues & Brews.
Taco Tuesdays lineup
• Oct. 6: Chris Brashear and Peter McLaughlin
• Oct. 13: Don Armstrong and The Whiskeypalians
• Oct. 20: P.D. Ronstadt and The Co.
• Oct. 27: Mamma Coal Trio featuring Carra “Mamma Coal” Stasney, Alvin Blaine on lead strings and Thoger Lund on bass
• Nov. 10: Canyon Currents and Friends, featuring Peter McLaughlin, Lex Browning and Brian Davies
• Nov. 17: Kiko Jácome Band
• Nov. 24: Nancy McCallion and her Pandemic Band
• Dec. 1: Hot Club of Tucson jazz trio
• Dec.8: Katherine Byrnes and Ryan Alfred
• Dec. 15: Frank n’ Steel with Frank Manhardt and Neil Harry
Sunday Blues & Brews lineup
• Oct. 4: Bad News Blues Band, $10
• Oct. 11: Black Cat Bones, $8
• Oct. 18: Brian Dean Trio, $5
• Oct. 25: Heather Hardy and The Dusty City Blues Band, $10
For the Soul Food Wednesday lineup, visit hotelcongress.com.
Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4642. On Twitter @Starburch
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