Electric Grinch Name Returns to Schenectady Bar/Venue

SCHENECTADY – For about a decade over 40 years ago, Electric Grinch was a popular spot for lunch, dinner and live music on Erie Boulevard, in a now-demolished building roughly across from the place where Wolff’s Biergarten is located today.

The Electric Grinch name is revived a few blocks away by the owner of the Jay St. Pub near City Hall, who is renovating the long-vacant adjoining building at 116 Jay to become the next version of the Electric Grinch, again as a bar. with live music. A March opening is planned, hopefully in time for St. Patrick’s Day, according to owner Mitchell Ramsey. He partners in the venue with its owner Jay St. Pub, who also owns the one-story building where the new Electric Grinch will be located.

“The main focus will be on supporting local music to the best of our abilities,” said Ramsey, who went to audio and video engineering school and intends to make space available for recording. as a cheaper alternative to traditional studios.

Inside, there will be a bar, tables and a stage big enough to accommodate full bands, Ramsey said, with a 1,000 square foot back patio and a 2,500 square foot roof terrace.

For Ramsey, now 30, Electric Grinch offers the opportunity to own a bar in a much larger space than little Jay. St. Pub which he opened in September 2018. Being able to do it next door is a big plus, he said.

“It seems like when a lot of owners try to open another location, they’re overstretched,” Ramsey said. “You are constantly putting out fires in this business. If you just have to run by to do it, it makes things so much easier.”

Although Electric Grinch was last open about 30 years ago, it has been the source of many memories for those nearing retirement who enjoyed hearing bands in their youth. Online reminiscences remember him fondly, as does Ramsey’s aunt. Now a resident of Texas, she previously worked at the GE plant at the foot of Erie Boulevard, where the company’s familiar cursive sign overlooks the downtown area.

“She said they always used to go to this place called Electric Grinch,” Ramsey said. “I thought it was a really cool name, but I couldn’t find out too much,” although he said he checked that the name was legally available for his new venture.

The Times Union’s electronic archive, which dates back to 1986, doesn’t have much on the Electric Grinch. Among the things they reveal is that the Blotto band played there often, as did the late Blotto member and Times Union music writer Greg Haymes in one of his solo forms. In Haymes’ mentions of Electric Grinch, he liked to refer to the bar as a “Guinness-soaked nightclub”. The place seems to have had an eclectic spirit, including a mocking name of an iconic Schenectady business, an official Electric Grinch Country Club name, and what appeared to be the tail of a small plane sticking out of the top of the facade near the front door.

Records indicate other restaurants and watering holes at 154 Erie Blvd. over the past 50 years or so include Erie Barge Restaurant, The Pentagon, Saluti’s, Backgrounds, Bambino’s and The Pentagon 1978. An Albany bar on Eagle Street called The Grinch was a popular destination for music in the 1970s and into the early 80s, but mentions in Times Union records are even thinner. It is unknown if he was under joint ownership with Electric Grinch.

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