The gentle plucking of an acoustic guitar drifts along Walnut Street, carried in the wake of coffee fueled college students who have all but abandoned their books for the evening.
World Café Live, nestled near Drexel University, has positioned itself as more than a venue. Venues recreate the music of the artists performing; World Café Live creates an experience, which resonates long after the final chord is struck.
Founded by Hal Real in October of 2004, World Café Live, located at 3025 Walnut St., resides in a 40,000 square foot Art Deco factory building. Designed with the ear in mind, the venue boasts unsurpassed sightlines and acoustics, ensuring that there are no bad seats in the house. Split into two music friendly levels, the café plays hosts to living legends as well as regional acts.
“When you’re a touring musician you know the stops along the way that are real legit venues that do it right— that publicize the shows, that take care of the artists, that people are used to coming to and this is one of them,” said Katie Herzig, a fixture in Nashville’s indie music scene.
Downstairs, which functions as a three-tiered music hall and can hold 300-650 people, houses the contemporary artists acts such as Andy Grammar and Beru Revue, have called World Café Live home for an evening.
Upstairs, an intimate café setting on street level seats approximately 100 people and offers delicious food and satisfying beverages. Enjoying eggplant fries, a peach seared salad or classic burger while listening to acts, stripped down to bare acoustics, allows the audience to escape the barriers and crowds and focus on the music.
“It’s a venue that supports live music and supports underground indie artists. It’s a place that’s designed for people to sit down and soak it in,” said Tyler James, a singer-songwriter from Nashville. “It encourages an environment that makes you think about what’s happening onstage.”
Much like the notes from the reverberating six-string on stage, World Café Live’s philosophy, bringing new music to people and new people to music, escapes into Philadelphia. “It’s always the place we look forward to coming back to,” said Herzig, echoing a sentiment shared by both artists and audience.