Live music lounge looking to promote local talent in the NEON District

804 Granby Street (Jordan Grice / Southside Daily)

NORFOLK — The pool of things to do in the city is getting larger as a live music venue was approved by city council Tuesday night.

The city’s NEON District will get a new addition in the form of a lounge where patrons can listen to live music and grab a drink.

According to general manager and co-owner Michael Madison, the venue, known as Unplugged, will serve as a cafe and lounge for local singers and musicians of all genres.

“It’s where real true talents can come and perform in front of a decent crowd. It’s nothing huge, but it’s in front of a decent-sized crowd, and play their talents,” he said.

While Madison is new to owning a lounge, he is no stranger to owning his own business. As a real estate developer with his company, Msquared Development, Madison buys and sells property in Hampton Roads.

The lounge will be located at 804 Granby St., in close proximity to the new Commune Norfolk location that opened back in May.

Unplugged will be occupying the space that was once Alchemy NFK, a creative venue that hosted art shows and other events.

According to Madison, he intentionally chose to open his doors in the heart of the art district as a way to provide the area with a burst of entertainment that they may not get too often.

“I think that side is waiting and begging for some form of entertainment and something different,” he said. “It’s always the same thing with people wanting to open up a restaurant, but I am trying to cultivate and bring some new energy down to the NEON District.”

The lounge is projected to open in September.

Also receiving the green light by city council is RD Wilhelm Distilling Co. which is expected to set up shop on 1120 W Olney Road.

1120 W. Olney Road (Jordan Grice / Southside

The distillery will be the fourth Norfolk-based restaurant that developers Eric Stevens and Karl Dornemann will open alongside Bardo, Supper and The Public House.

Both men also have two other eateries under the umbrella of their company Prime Eats Production, including Still and Gosport Tavern in Portsmouth.

While Stevens and Dornemann are no strangers to the food industry, this will be their first shot at craft spirits.

Jordan can be reached at

Always be informed. Get the latest news and information delivered to your inbox

Print Friendly, PDF & Email