The new year at the Spotlight Theatre, 1800 7th Ave., Moline, brings a new bar and a monthly jazz series starting this month to help spotlight it.

The Jazz Lounge – which debuted briefly this past fall in the main theater as a Thursday series with pianist Mason Moss and singer Sara Tubbs – will relaunch on Feb. 20 in the new Blueprint Bar and Lounge, in a previously unused (and totally renovated) room off the Spotlight foyer.

Views of the new Blueprint Bar and Lounge, which completely transformed an unused room in the Spotlight Theatre, Moline.

“They completely transformed it. It’s gorgeous,” Tubbs (Spotlight co-owner with husband Brent Tubbs) said Wednesday of building owners Adam Bain and Blake Humphrey, who partnered with East Moline-based Streamline Architects on the renovation. The Spotlight opened its theater and event center in 2018 in the former Scottish Rite Cathedral, built in 1930.

“There are original blueprints hung up around the bar; it’s so cool, they’re amazing to look at,” Sara Tubbs said. “The intricacies and detail that went into the structure of the building, it’s incredible.”

“We try to use every bit of space in that building,” Humphrey said Wednesday. “That was an unused room. They had pop-up bars for events. They have this beautiful theater, great production value they put on. We wanted to make a high-end lounge. It’s so much more than just a bar. You can rent it privately, it will be open to the public.”

“It’s granite countertops, all the fixings,” he said of the full-service bar and lounge, which will feature a menu of wine, beers, and whiskeys. “I’s going to be really nice, going to be rocking when we get this amped up.”

When Bain and Humphrey bought the building in early 2018, they got the original blueprints, which he called “art in themselves,” and that planted the concept to display them in the new bar and lounge, which also will be available to rent for private events – like wedding receptions and birthday parties.

“It’s just going to complement what we already have – we have this beautiful theater, and to get a drink will be so much better, rather than a

Views of the new Blueprint Bar and Lounge, which completely transformed an unused room in the Spotlight Theatre, Moline.

card table,” Humphrey said.

The new Blueprint Bar will comply with all Illinois Covid-19 regulations. Last month, the state moved to Phase 4 guidelines for the region that includes the Q-C. Those restrictions include:

  • Indoor dining and drinking now permitted for parties of up to 10 people.
  • Seated areas should be arranged so that tables allow for 6 feet between parties; impermeable barriers may be installed between booths which are less than 6 ft. apart.
  • Standing areas (in restaurants or bars) should be limited to no more than 25 percent of standing area capacity.

Sara Tubbs started the jazz series (featuring lots of standards and songs from the Great American Songbook) in September, at first every Thursday night for a month or so, and then stopped after Covid infection rates started rising.

“People that did come absolutely loved it,” she said this week. “We had candles on the tables. We tried to make it more an intimate experience. It was beautiful.”

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It’s ideal to bring it to the new bar space, as in intimate lounge feel, Tubbs said.

“When we were doing it every week, it was not as special. We kind of wanted to bring it back once a month for now,” she said. “Down the road, if it looks like people want more, we can add dates. We thought we’d do once a month for now.”

Sara Tubbs and Mason Moss will relaunch their Jazz Lounge in the new Blueprint Bar on Saturday, Feb. 20.

Humphrey said the future is up in the air regarding opening regularly every weekend, with other live music.

“We haven’t been able to plan too far ahead. We’ve been trying to survive,” he said. “That room is going to be more suited to retirement parties, birthday parties. We’ve got catered food, will have it set for private parties. It will be a one-stop shop.”

The jazz series will be 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Feb. 20, March 13, April 17, May 15, June 18, and July 17, with a $10 cover charge.

On same day the Blueprint opens, the Spotlight’s Brent Tubbs (a veteran improviser) will host his first improv comedy workshop in the theater.

The 91-year-old Scottish Rite Cathedral, 1800 7th Ave., Moline, reopened in 2018 as the Spotlight Theatre and Event Center.

Whether you’re a seasoned stage performer, or just want to be more comfortable speaking in front of a crowd, this workshop will dive into the principles of improv comedy and how anyone can improvise. (HINT: Everyone already does it every day of our lives.)

The workshop will be Saturday, Feb. 20 at 10 a.m. to noon for 4th to 8th-grade students, and 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. for high school through adults. The cost is $25.

For the jazz series, reservations are available at https://www.thespotlighttheatreqc.com/jazz-lounge, online ticketing will end one hour prior to event start time, and tickets will be sold at the door.

For information on the Blueprint menu, visit www.blueprintbarlounge.com/. For more info on the Spotlight, visit www.thespotlighttheatreqc.com.

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Jonathan Turner has been covering the Quad-Cities arts scene for 25 years, first as a reporter with the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, and then as a reporter with the Quad City Times. Jonathan is also an accomplished actor and musician who has been seen frequently on local theater stages, including the Bucktown Revue and Black Box Theatre.