A Bricktown music venue that has showcased many red dirt and up-and-coming country artists is closing its doors.
The Wormy Dog Saloon will close at the end of April. Levelland Productions, which leases the venue, informed the property’s owner, Brewer Entertainment, in December that they will not renew their lease.
The Journal Record’s Molly Fleming writes Brewer Entertainment president Brent Brewer says his team will assess the building to determine what works needs to be done.
“It’s a great location,” he said. “It’s right in the middle of the development in east Bricktown. We think it will lease fairly quickly.”
He said the company’s ideal tenant would be open daily. The Wormy Dog is open only Thursday to Saturday.
The two-story, loft-style building was constructed in 1934. It measures 13,872 square feet. Brewer said it has about 10,000 square feet of leasable space. He said Bricktown is in a transitional period, with more density and diversity than when the Wormy Dog opened.
During his weekly conversation about business news in the state, Journal Record editor Ted Streuli told KGOU that the Wormy Dog was the smallest venue in Levelland Productions’ portfolio.
“They also own the Criterion, which recently opened, Tumbleweeds up in Stillwater, they own a music festival at Lake Eufaula and they thought that they would be running the bar and entertainment at the Tower Theatre in Oklahoma City,” Streuli said. “So the Tower Theatre deal fell apart, though, and so the owners are saying there’s a chance for a Wormy Dog encore.”
Seth Spillman, communications director with the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau, told the Journal Record that Bricktown is becoming more residential-friendly. Streuli said Wormy Dog was an attractive part of that aesthetic.
“One of the attractions to living in that park of time is the access to entertainment, food and drink. And Wormy Dog helps fill that bill,” Streuli said.
McCleland: Ted, Journal Record reporter Sarah Terry-Cobo writes some private healthcare providers want to expand the use of telemedicine, but they can’t. Why not?
Streuli: Well, payment rates haven’t kept up with technology. And private insurance companies typically pay about $40 per telemedicine visit and Medicare – which isn’t covering a lot of these right now – was only paid about $25 per telemedicine visit, so it’s really tough for doctors to make that work financially.
McCleland: How could telemedicine visits to homebound patients save money?
Streuli: Well, you know, about 5 percent of the population has at least one chronic illness but that group uses 60 percent of health care resources because they tend to seek treatment in the emergency room. So independent care, we have found, could cut those costs by as much as one-third.
McCleland: Besides money, what are the benefits of telemedicine, both for the homebound patient and for providers?
Streuli: Well, you know, for homebound patients especially, there’s multiple scenarios in which patients can’t leave their homes but they need to see a specialist for things like wound care, or endocrinology and cardiology. We learned about 40 percent of referrals to specialists could be met through telemedicine. So it makes the doctors more efficient and makes life a lot easier for the patient.
McCleland: What are the solutions that are on the table to help providers make more virtual homecare visits?
Streuli: Well, unfortunately, it’s going to take a sea change in federal law and the insurance industry to make telemedicine payments match the cost of equipment and labor, and that’s just not on the horizon right now.
McCleland: Changing topics quite a bit here, Journal Record reporter Molly Fleming writes that the Wormy Dog Saloon in Bricktown is shutting its doors. What is the Wormy Dog known for?
Streuli: Well, the original Wormy Dog Saloon opened in Stillwater in the early 90s and the one in Bricktown opened in 2003. It was one of the first Bricktown clubs and it quickly gained a reputation for featuring up-and-coming country bands, especially the ones playing Red Dirt music.
McCleland: Why are the owners closing down the Wormy Dog?
Streuli: You know, it had become the smallest venture in the owners’ portfolio. They also own the Criterion, which recently opened, Tumbleweeds up in Stillwater, they own a music festival at Lake Eufaula and they thought that they would be running the bar and entertainment at the Tower Theatre in Oklahoma City. So the Tower Theatre deal fell apart, though, and so the owners’ are saying there’s a chance for a Wormy Dog encore.
McCleland: Seth Spillman with the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau told your paper that Bricktown is becoming more residential-friendly. Does a venue like Wormy Dog still fit into the aesthetic of Bricktown?
Streuli: Oh, sure it does. One of the attractions to living in that park of time is the access to entertainment, food and drink. And Wormy Dog helps fill that bill.
McCleland: So Wormy Dog is a long-standing music venue, especially for red dirt music, as you mentioned. Are there other options to help fill the void for concerts?
Streuli: Well, you know, as I mentioned, the same owners have The Criterion which is nearby in Bricktown. That’s pretty new. And while it’s not going a lot of country or red dirt music, it’s a much bigger venue and is attracting bigger names acts to the area. So that’s one way that void is getting filled.
McCleland: What’s the legacy of Wormy Dog? Will it be difficult to fill its shoes?
Streuli: Well we don’t know what’s coming but the building’s owner did tell us that it’s such a premier location that he expects someone to lease that space very quickly. And we’ll find out what kind of place they move in there.
The Business Intelligence Report is a collaborative news project between KGOU and The Journal Record.
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