The F Word: Abilene's Danny Deutsch believes


With an unpredictable future looming precariously before them, Rochester-area club owners have been caught in a kind of COVID-19 limbo. How are businesses that rely on a regular live audience staying afloat?

To get to the bottom of this, I first rang up Abilene Bar & Lounge's Danny Deutsch.

Deutsch is an impresario and true music fan, which can be a tough position to be in when trying to make a living promoting live music at your establishment. His roots rock honky-tonk, Abilene (located at 153 Liberty Pole Way), shines with local, regional, national, and international talent virtually every night of the week. That streak ended a month ago with the advent of the pandemic.
Abilene Bar & Lounge owner Danny Deutsch - PHOTO PROVIDED
  • Abilene Bar & Lounge owner Danny Deutsch
"Our last day of business as usual was March 14 with the Don Diego Trio," Deutsch says. "Two of the guys were stuck in Italy and one guy got stuck here," he says. "We haven't had a live band since that date." Like every other venue, Abilene has had to endure being shut down.

In his mandatory vacation, Deutsch misses the camaraderie of the staff and customers. "Video chat doesn’t do it for me," Deutsch says.

Currently, Deutsch talks to promoters while rubbing a rabbit's foot. "It's really dicey," he says. "I'm talking to booking agents about dates in April of 2021." Regardless, he says he has every intention to reopen soon with bands, beer, the works.

In the meantime Deutsch says he's getting the place spruced up, in anticipation of a triumphant re-opening, but he's willing to be patient. "The health of all of us is too important," he says. "I can wait."

Apparently, so can his dedicated customers and fans, some of whom have randomly mailed checks to Deutsch to show support and to help out. He just shakes his head in appreciation.

He also says that Abilene isn't extravagant in it's day-to-day, nor is the club in immediate danger. "We pay our bills," Deutsch says. "We run it pretty close to the bone, here."

Though he doesn't know when, he promises to open as soon as possible with bands already queuing up to play. "I'm looking forward to it," he says. "My September is great."

Frank De Blase is CITY's music writer. He can be reached at [email protected].