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A Pandemic-Born Outdoor Music Venue Opens on Frenchmen Street

Instead of closing longtime live music pillar D.B.A. as planned, owner Tom Thayer just opened a second, open-air venue on Frenchmen

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

After 20 years running bustling Frenchmen Street music venue D.B.A., Tom Thayer put the business and building up for sale in March 2020. He’d had a good run, he felt, but the chaotic Frenchmen Street scene was wearing on him, and he was ready for a change. “I imagined opening a small, cool venue in a neighborhood somewhere,” Thayer told Eater earlier this year.

Instead, Thayer just opened a second music venue across the street from D.B.A. (which he still owns and operates) smack in the middle of Frenchmen Street, not exactly the quiet neighborhood Thayer once envisioned. DBA at Palace Market was an idea born during the pandemic as a way to get musicians working again, safely and outside. In between streaming live shows and eventually opening for to-go drink service, Thayer worked with Gregor Fox, the owner of Palace Market, over the months to open the new open-air, outdoor venue at at 619 Frenchmen Street.

It debuted Thursday, May 20, with reserved seating, mobile cocktail service brought to the table, and food from Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro and Three Muses. DBA at Palace Market will host ticketed, seated concerts and events Friday through Sunday every week, with tickets and table reservations available on a first-come, first-served basis. The opening weekend lineup includes Ivan Neville, Papa Mali, Holly Rock, and the New Orleans Jazz Vipers.

For now, the venue is capped at 100 people, with patrons seated at 28 tables, and it operates with a special event permit. Concert-goers can place drink orders on their phones to be delivered to their table from D.B.A, or can retrieve from the bar it themselves, since Palace Market doesn’t have its own liquor license.

The original D.B.A. is currently open for drinks indoors and out, but is waiting on updated live music regulations for indoor venues to schedule live performances. Tickets for DBA at Palace Market concerts are available on D.B.A.’s website.

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