As an entrepreneur, Texarkana native David Peavy, is known for owning some of the more unique businesses in town. Three of those are located in the same building – the 1894 Ritchie Grocery building located across the street from the historic Union Railroad Station.
He has developed each level of the three-story building as separate entities: The first level is the 1894 Art Gallery; the second floor is home to Studio 71, a party venue with a 1970s vibe; the third level is home to unique high-end loft apartments. To get from the third to the first floor, you can take the elevator; however, the spiral slide is faster.
But the most fun to be had there is in the basement. Over a century ago the space was used for refrigeration machinery and food storage. Hooks are still in a section of the ceiling where bananas were hung to ripen – thus, the name “1923 Banana Club” was born. Decorated as a 1920’s speakeasy, one must have a code to enter the door. Peavy shined up some of the old machinery parts and gears and left them, for a steampunk twist.
“You become cooler just by walking through the door,” Peavy said. “Our motto is ‘Protect the Vibe.’”
A small stage for intimate performances is located on one end of the room, with a vintage bar stretching along one wall. The bartender is dressed as a flapper and could easily be an extra in The Great Gatsby.
The band playing this night is a new one, made up of familiar artists from other locally-known groups: Bryan Jefferies and Selena Jefferies of Split Decision, and Heather Linn of Heather Linn and the Deacons, have billed themselves as Stiletto – a three-person cover band.
The crowd, mostly made up of the “over 30” generation, enjoys appetizers delivered from the best local restaurants as they listen to their favorite songs. The small dance floor is big enough for three or four couples to cut a fancy rug on.
This is definitely different from any other club in town, or even the area. As Peavy is fond of saying, “You could be anywhere in the world, but you’re in Texarkana.”