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October 05, 2012

Glimpse of the past as Broadway biz gets facelift

Downtown Broadway caught a brief glimpse of Rochester's past as a long-time business started working on a new, updated look this week. Construction crews started working on the facade of Kathy’s Pub at 307 S. Broadway Thursday. As the green Kathy's awning was taken down, they uncovered the old Hollywood Bar neon sign.

The Hollywood was one of Rochester's most venerable nightspots going back at least to the 1940s. It was known for its 90-foot-long bar that was staffed by an "all-girl" crew. Offering live music six nights a week, it was the home venue for the local music legends, the Parrish Brothers band.

It later became Kathy's Pub with Kathy and Gus Chafos as the owners. Matt Murphy and Matt Teal bought it in 2003, but kept the Kathy's name.

10042012kathyspubhollywoodbarjkMurphy says the classic Hollywood sign that dates back to Rochester's "Mad Men" days has been put into storage for the winter, while it is decided what to ultimately do with it.

Meanwhile, the entire front facade of Kathy's is getting a face-lift from the sidewalk all the way up to parapets by the rooftop patio.

"We're going to restore it back to the old look," says Murphy. "The bricks will get cleaned. It'll get fresh paint. They are restoring the parapets. And a new, updated awning is coming."

The hope is to finish the renovation work within about a month. A facade improvement grant from the Rochester Downtown Alliance is paying for half of the $30,000 project.

A new neon glow is in the works to light up Kathy's sometime next year. Murphy says Schad Tracy Signs is working on a new design that will look similar one at The Griffin Cocktail Lounge in Las Vegas. Look for that project to come to light in the spring.


I was one of the girl bartenders at the Hollywood Bar back in the 60's. Probably one of the last one living. I'm now 73. Lots of fun and great entertainment.

I think that rooftop part looks so odd looking, looks like a cheap tin shed.

I remember the old Hollywood. The stage was actually behind the bar with the stage floor even with the top of the bar. It was really cool to go see my uncle play there occasionally (not the band noted in the article). Of course that was back when kids were actually allowed in the bars with appropriate supervision. I'd hate to try that with my kids now; they'd end up in some kind of protective custody. It was quite a flashback seeing the old Hollywood sign; I didn't realize it was still there. Good luck Matt with the updates, and keep up the good work.

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