Fort Wayne, Ind. – – Piere’s Entertainment Center, 5629 Saint Joe Rd., in Fort Wayne, Indiana is back as one of the area’s premier places for a good time. For longtime residents and visitors to the Summit City, Piere’s was the place to go on Friday and Saturday nights. Usually, there was a national act playing, or one of your friend’s local or regional bands was taking the stage. At any rate, it was never a boring time. With five venues under one roof, patrons found it easy to keep up an evening’s excitement.
Piere’s: part of Fort Wayne’s history, charging the way for the future
Since 1989, for fans of live music, turning old enough to get into Piere’s was a rite of passage. While there was also the Coliseum for bigger shows, the smaller Piere’s also offered bar drinks, karaoke, a country bar, in addition to the main stage area and a dance club.
While some might doubt previous owners’ claims that Piere’s is the largest venue of its kind in the Midwest, others are unconcerned about superlatives. No amount of capacity can make up for a particular vibe or ambiance that makes people want to spend their time and money in a space.
That vibe is exactly what was missing when Piere’s shut down in 2013. After changing owners several years later, the new Piere’s started taking shape, and area patrons were excited about the prospect.
What makes the new Piere’s so exciting? Some people might chalk the excitement up to the pandemic having shut everything down, and now that some places are starting to open again, the idea of going out still makes people giddy. However, if there was only the same old places, offering the same old acts, the excitement likely would not be there.
So Piere’s is back. With a capacity for 2,000 people, the entertainment complex boasts various areas for entertainment and socializing. New this time is a full-service dining area, Bobby McGee’s. Bobby McGee’s is well-lit with bright overhead lights, and its contemporary design features light-colored wooden tables, a trippy floor pattern in metallic silver, gray, and black. Bobby McGee’s is the site of Piere’s trivia contest. Large televisions favor music video programming, but the televisions also serve to inform patrons when the trivia contest is to start, and how to participate. The use of QR code’s and required smart phones make the trivia game at Bobby McGee’s an upgrade to the idea of analog trivia games. Next to Bobby McGee’s there is a mixed-use club called “Stan’s Room,” named after late owner, Stan Liddell. Some performers are slated to perform there, and on a recent visit, it too, was full of people who were clearly having a good time.
The front of the building now features a sculpture of a Muse, perhaps to remind visitors that the place exists because of the creative output of other people. There is also an updated exterior.
For those who remember, the Tudor-ish styling of Piere’s and the surrounding businesses distinguished it from the surrounding suburban buildings. The remodel shows Piere’s to be an entertainment complex that is aiming to meet the needs of a changing world and the audiences that populate it. For more than a decade though, Piere’s has featured a wide-range of acts representing a variety of musical genres. Now, hip-hop, old school r&b and funk performers, along with with comedians have, or are slated to grace one of Piere’s stages.
Piere’s is a Fort Wayne institution. Almost everyone of a certain age who grew up in Fort Wayne has a Piere’s story or several. Well into the 21st century, Piere’s continues to generate excitement that patrons need to have a good time when they go out.
The new Piere’s is also offering more all-ages shows. In interviews elsewhere, the club’s representatives have made it clear that the venue is not strictly all-ages. There are some shows that are all-ages.
While some things have changed in the area immediately next to Piere’s, a recent visit for a concert and dinner at Bobby McGee’s proved that the long-running venue had been missed, and more than a few patrons are looking forward to Piere’s continued contribution to Fort Wayne nightlife.