Montclair, NJ – In May, DLV Lounge celebrated 50 years. On Thursday night, instead of music and the sound of glasses clinking, DLV was dark and on Facebook came the announcement that it had closed its doors, closing a chapter that started back in 1972. The liquor license, per this resolution, has been transferred to Sayola Restaurant at 38 Valley Road, but memories of DLV will surely endure.
A hidden gem on Bloomfield Avenue, the DLV Lounge played an important role in Montclair’s Black history in jazz and entertainment. Owned by George Marable and affectionately known to locals as “George’s Place,” the DLV recently celebrated its Golden Jubilee as the go-to spot for jazz music in Essex County and a space to relax and converse with Montclair community members and friends.
“The unique thing about DLV is that it has brought music to Montclair for [decades]. It’s outlasted nearly every music venue in Montclair, except Tierney’s,” said jazz musician and frequent DLV performer Bruce Tyler, at the time of the DLV’s 50th anniversary.
On Thursday, Tyler shared this reminiscence:
“I would like to say that I’ve first played at the DLV Lounge more than 32+years ago! I booked the original Montclair Blues and Jazz Festival there in the mid 1980’s, did ran the longest Jam Session there for 5 years and from my band Tayata was one of early bands that played there. IKE Brown’s Jazz Prophets grew out of a Jam Session that started on the second floor that led to me working as the original drummer for 20 YEARS. Many of some of best musicians have graced the stage for nearly some 40+ years that I know of performed there. And..to Rich Pierson..you did a great job at keeping it going with the “Jazz On The Avenue” jam session 3 years and brought some of the best local, regional and nationally recognized musicians through those doors!!
And to George Marble a big thank you for giving us musicians a place to play.”
The news came as a surprise to Rich Acciavatti, who was scheduled to play Thursday with Richard Pierson Live Story Band. Acciavatti, in a video message in front of the dark club, said he learned the DLV had shut down and that there would be no more alcohol or music.
“It does appear to be the end of an era,” said Acciavatti. “The DLV Lounge is no more.”
Originally opened by his parents in 1972, George Marable decided to continue DLV – named for his parents Dutch and Louise and his daughter Valerie – after they passed. Although running the bar was never a career goal of Marable’s – he had pursued a career in social work after earning a master’s degree from Rutgers University – “the more I became involved in the business, the more it grew on me.”
Marable told Baristanet in May he was particularly proud of growing jazz entertainment in Montclair over the past 10 to 15 years, and in turn, developing a clientele that has become more multicultural and multigenerational – including a wide array of entertainers and military veterans – who come together to enjoy each other and music.
“I appreciate the experience I’ve gained from ownership,” he said. “It’s been quite a journey.”