MOTR will bring live music to OTR, without a cover

Thirteen-forty-five Main St. has been a watering hole for most of its 130 years, and its ornate tin ceiling and cathedral-like bar will once again be filled with the sounds of music and merriment when MOTR, a bar and music venue, opens there during the Midpoint Music Festival in late September.

At first glance MOTR is another success story for a vacant space on Main St. in Over-the-Rhine. But co-owner Dan McCabe, a self-appointed evangelist for Cincinnati's music scene, says MOTR's opening marks something much more important: it will offer a "steady diet" of new sounds to Cincinnati's urban core, free of charge.

"That [no-cover] model lends itself beautifully to a sense of discovery and the idea that we're working within the parameters of just new up-and-coming acts," he said. "It's going to be at the forward front of music genres and trends."

The venue will have a 150-person capacity listening room as well as a courtyard, dining room and two basement rooms. The layout will be similar to the one left by the last occupant, Coopers.

MOTR will eventually feature live music seven nights a week, when McCabe plans to host genre-specific nights on Sundays through Wednesdays with a variety of styles on the weekends including new strands of folk, electronica and indie rock. The restaurant's menu will feature MOTRburgers, which McCabe insists will become famous, as well as a new take on pub fare that will include vegetarian options.

McCabe, the executive producer of Midpoint Music Festival, and his business partner Chris Schadler have four decades of experience booking live music in Cincinnati. In addition to bringing regional acts to MOTR, McCabe said the stage will give local bands an opportunity to grow a following. He says that musicians are Cincinnati's finest resource.

"People [in Cincinnati] aren't satisfied pulling up alongside these mainstream sounds," he said. "They want to take it a step further, and push the envelope. It's very precious and needs to be nurtured."

McCabe said he hopes MOTR will both grow "outside the walls" of its physical space to host outdoor events, and bring Cincinnati's creative community inside with art shows and local film screenings. He said he and Schadler chose Main St. because it is an event driven arts neighborhood, among other reasons.
"This place will be a neighborhood bar first," he said. "A neighborhood bar where the neighborhood comes to expect new music."

Writer: Henry Sweets
Photography by Scott Beseler
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