Toronto's El Mocambo Sold for $3 Million; New Owners Plan Upgrades

Toronto's El Mocambo Sold for $3 Million; New Owners Plan Upgrades
One of Toronto's most iconic concert venues is getting a makeover. The El Mocambo, which has hosted acts like the Rolling Stones, U2, Lou Reed and Elvis Costello, has been purchased for $3 million, and the new owners intend to make some upgrades to the club.

The new owners are Sam Grosso and Marco Petrucci; the former also owns the Cadillac Lounge and Graffiti's Bar & Grill, while the latter owns 99 Sudbury. They announced their purchase of the El Mo on Monday (July 23), previously owned by Abbas Jahangiri, who took over the club in 2001.

Grosso told Billboard that he and Petrucci plan to make various improvements to the venue.

"Obviously, we're going to pour money into it and we're going to resurrect the neon sign that's up there; that's one of the first things we're going to work on," he said. "But it's going to be a slow progression. Hopefully, people are going to come to the El Mocambo. We're going to introduce a food menu; we're going to have dinners and shows. We're going to have early shows, late shows. We're going to cater to a lot of different age groups."

He additionally told NOW Magazine, "The second floor is a major project. The plan is to resurrect it to what it looked like back in '77, with the stage in the middle, cool sightlines and two bars on each end of the venue."

While there will be many changes in the coming months, not everything will receive a complete overhaul -- current talent booker Yvonne Matsell will be staying on.

"It's a new breath of air," she told Billboard of the ownership change. "Music lovers have taken over, people who really have a good knowledge of running venues. I commented on the fact that it needed tender loving care and he [Grosso] totally agrees with me. And he is very adamant that the fact that the Stones played there 25 years ago is a big deal. So it gives me every possible feeling that music is the criteria here again."

Go to Concert Sherpa to see some of the acts who will be coming through the El Mocambo in the coming weeks.