Tips on how to book a show at Henflings Roadhouse Tavern
The term “roadhouse” is said to date back to the mid-1800s. One history of the term originates from the gold rush. As travelers made their way West and North, they relied on the roadhouse to provide hot meals and warm beds. Guests were often greeted by innkeepers, welcoming them back “home” each time they visited. During the days of prohibition in the 1920s, roadhouses outside city limits became ideal venues for bootleggers to share their special sauce. In the late 1940s and ’50s Americans embraced a car culture that encouraged hitting the open road. The roadhouse once again served as the ultimate rest stop. Music has always been a part of the roadhouse culture, personifying the spirit of freedom and independence. Our very own Santa Cruz Mountains provide a glimpse into the classic roadhouse culture at Henflings Roadhouse Tavern in Ben Lomond.
Adopting the “roadhouse” moniker is not a stretch for Henflings when you consider the Webster’s definition is “a tavern usually outside of city limits providing liquor and usually meals, dancing, and often gambling.” They probably wouldn’t admit to gambling, but otherwise Henflings is our very own slice of Americana.
Catering to everyone from the Ghost Mountain Riders to the saltiest of locals, Henflings is a historic notch on any band’s live music belt. Henflings hosts music six nights a week (Tuesday is the only non-music night), and rarely has a cover. Punk and metal bands have a safe haven on Wednesday nights, with punks coming from as far as The Netherlands to hit the tiny stage. Other nights consist of primarily blues, country and good old rock ‘n’ roll. The venue never hosts hip-hop and doesn’t see a lot of reggae.
Booking about two months in advance, Henflings is one of the easiest venues to contact about a show. All e-mails that include a link to song samples are answered within 24 hours. Catering to both local and touring bands, if you are booked, Henflings provides a sound engineer and a full PA system. All shows are paid and negotiated on a band by band basis.
When I asked Henflings booker Kim McFarland what makes a show a success, her answer was pure roadhouse, “Bring in people who drink.”
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