Pauly’s Hotel at 337 Central Ave. in Albany is among local entertainment venues that’s been around for a long time, and whose owner is working hard to keep it going in these rollercoaster times.
“We re-did the whole building and put in a state-of-the-art sound system,” said owner Kip Finck, who purchased Pauly’s in the fall of 2019. “Stan Denis of Denis Entertainment put in the sound. The acoustics are incredible.
“We renovated until February [of 2020], got it it all finished and COVID hit.
“So we had opened and immediately had to close down. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade was canceled. We were closed all of 2020 except for a few shows.
“We reopened in the spring of 2021, but not full guns until the fall of this year,” said Finck, whose establishment can host about 130 patrons.
“Now we’re up and hoping to expand on the 2-3 days a week to 4-5. We always have something going on Fridays and Saturdays.”
With the omicron variant causing increased virus vigilance, Finck says, “We’re following all the mandates; that’s all we can do. We have more signage up, that masks are required. All my employees have masks. We’ve made some changes in how our seating is.”
Once patrons sit down at a table they may remove the mask to consume drinks or food, Finck added.
“We’re doing the best we can and in the safest possible environment that we can provide,” he said.
The next night of entertainment at Pauly’s is Wednesday, Dec. 29, at 8 p.m., featuring Ricky Bandana, Treasure Cove, Glue Head and The Pine Boys.
On Saturday, Jan. 1, a New Year’s Day Night Party will feature Namen Namen, Car Becomes Airplane and The Taxidermist. The following night, live music features The Cryptics, The Hauntings and more to be announced.
Many of the performers are just starting to make a name for themselves. Pauly’s is no stranger to bands on the rise. Phish played its first Albany show at Pauly’s in the 1980s, said Finck, and Joe Bonamassa performed there earlier in his career.
He says Pauly’s — which opened in 1862 for returning Civil War veterans — is aiming for “music quality.”
“We’re trying to make everything sound right, and we’re getting good reviews,” said Finck, who previously owned Northern Lights nightclub in Clifton Park.
“We’re trying to keep it up; we’ve had a lot of good jazz people come in. We’re sponsored by Three Chord bourbon, which is Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo’s. They do a show for us every quarter. Neil promotes it by setting up these different shows in different areas that he can bring acts into. They come in, they do a spiel on the bourbon and the band plays for everyone. We’ve had a couple of different blues acts come in, direct from Nashville.
“My background is in national bands. Right now we’re looking at smaller nationals,” said Finck, who noted that, before the omicron variant arrived, many of these smaller national bands “were just starting to come out of their shell.”
A big event each year for Pauly’s is the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Albany.
“We’re hoping the parade on March 12 will come to fruition,” said Finck. “It was canceled the last two years.”
Finck said he recently signed John Valby, aka Dr. Dirty, a musician/comedian who performs parodies and original songs. He’ll perform on April 8. The McKrells will perform on March 11. For a full listing of acts, visit paulys-hotel.com.
The cover charge varies at Pauly’s, Finck noted, and occasionally parking is available in a lot at The Linda, WAMC’s entertainment venue nearby.