Local music venue a best-kept-secret

The Guesthouse’s Black Rose Lounge, originally built in the 1970s, is probably one of the areas’s best-kept musical secrets.

Anyone from Fort Wayne is familiar with the name Don Hall’s. Founded in 1946, the local restaurant chain named for its founder has stood the test of time and held its own against big-branded chains that have moved into the area.

Since Hall’s acquired The Imperial House Hotel in 1981and renamed it Don Hall’s Guesthouse, it has served a wide range of music royalty including B.B. King, Bob Dylan, Lita Ford, Ted Nugent, Joe Bonamassa, David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen.

Until recent years, entertainment at the Guesthouse wasn’t a priority in day-to-day business. One day, general manager Tim Hall decided to change that.

“Between all the (musical) talent in Fort Wayne and the big influx of musicians from Sweetwater,” said Hall, “we wanted to make a change and create more of a listening room where musicians can be heard in an intimate environment.”

And it’s worked. Not only has the Guesthouse become a haven for the who’s who of Fort Wayne talent, but it’s also not uncommon to sidle up to famous musicians sitting at the bar as they pass through town.

“We’ve had everyone from Carl Verheyen of Supertramp to David Ellefson of Megadeth to blues legend Robben Ford,” said Hall. You never know who you’re going to see.”

Don Hall’s Guesthouse lounge has live entertainment Wednesday through Saturday nights, and there’s never a cover charge. Regular acts include Expanding Man, Prime Time, Kat Bowser, Jeff McDonald, Carolyn Martin and The Sweetwater All Stars. Don Hall’s Guesthouse/Black Rose Lounge, 1313 W. Washington Center Road, 260.489.2524, donhallsguesthouse.com

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