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(L-R) The Back Alley management crew Jessica Turner, Jamal Aly, Nicole O'Neill, Dennis O'Neill, Jim Turner and Evan Kaluta pose at what will again be the location of the Back Alley on Macleod Tr SW in Calgary on Friday, November 8, 2019. Recently called The Marquee, The Back Alley was fixture in Calgary club scene and is set to open soon under new management.
Dennis O’Neill (L) and Jim Turner pose at what will again be the location of the Back Alley on Macleod Tr SW in Calgary on Friday, November 8, 2019. Recently called The Marquee, The Back Alley was fixture in Calgary club scene and is set to open soon under new management.
A couple of customers at the Back Alley nightclub enjoy the fine humour of the photographer in this May 1999 Postmedia Archive photo.
The Back Alley nightclub is back — and if its owners have it their way, it will be better than ever.
The hotspot in the 4000 block of Macleod Trail entertained thousands for 23 years before it was transformed into the Marquee nightclub, which weeks ago announced it was closing its doors.
And when its sale was announced, former Back Alley DJ Jim Turner and former owner Dennis O’Neill, thought it was time to bring Back Alley back.
“The appeal of the bar back then was everyone was welcome, you didn’t have to put on a suit and a cocktail dress to come out — you could come as you are,” said Turner, a 10-year DJ’ing veteran of the former Back Alley. “It turned into the place to be seen anyways because it was a popular place to go.
“What we’re trying to do now is basically a Back Alley 2 — a rebooted version of what it was then. We want to bring back what was cool about the original Back Alley, but we’re going to utilize what’s there already (at the venue).”
When it was converted to the Marquee, Turner said, renovations brought great seating, a fantastic booth and bottle service areas. The hope now, he added, is to improve off those renovations.
“We’re going to bring sort of the atmosphere to the Back Alley where it will be a much nicer facility inside — it’s not going to look like a dive inside,” he said. “I’m somewhat biased, but I’d argue it’s of one the nicest looking places in the city inside.”
Some of those improvements will include a new and improved sound and visual set up, Turner said.
Turner said he would DJ Back Alley throwback nights every now and then at Marquee while it was still open — something that let him see the passion many had for the old spot.
“That’s sort of where we got the idea from, actually, is the response from those reunions then getting to talk about things,” he said. “Once we found out Marquee was for sale, we just put the plan in motion.”
A partnership with Gruman’s Deli will bring forth a special food menu to the bar for those looking to get some good eats. On top of that, Turner said, they’re looking to capitalize on some alcohol options that aren’t in many other places.
“If you want to come down and have a smoked meat sandwich and a beer before you went to the hockey game, this is the place to go,” he said.
The tentative plan is to have the Back Alley open for Nov. 29, Turner said, adding they hope to round out their staff during a hiring fair from 12 to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
On Twitter: @zjlaing
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019