Local coffee bar, Take 5, provides live entertainment, atmosphere for social engagements

Taylor Yeazel, Staff Writer

Students work on homework, and it’s about 8 p.m. on a Saturday.
Adults quietly talk and drink their coffee.
There’s live jazz music or beautiful and catchy strums of a guitar.
The room’s lighting is dim. The atmosphere is cozy and calming — the perfect place for studying.
Take Five Coffee + Bar opened in January 2010.
Owner Lori Chandler said she wanted the coffee shop to be a place people could treat as their living room.
“I saw that missing in this area — a place that could be your study hall, your office, your game room, your listening room, if you wanted to come watch live music, and some- one else does the dishes,” she said.
Since opening, many live entertainment groups have performed there.
“It’s mainly jazz, but we do some singer/songwriter groups as well,” she said. “We’ve had the Fifth Wall Comedy Troupe here, which is a lot of fun. We do open-mic nights, so it’s not exclusively jazz.”
Chandler said the live music has helped her business grow.
“We’ve really gone to the extremes on live music and making sure that we are getting fabulous jazz acts in here,” she said. “That has helped with our recognition, as well, by bringing other people in here who otherwise might not know we’re here by coming to see these musicians.”
She said she has a passion for music and always wanted to incorporate it in her business plan.
“It wasn’t necessarily going to be an every weekend thing,” she said. “It was going to be more occasional, but
once we got started hosting, it just kind of blossomed.” Many musicians return to Take Five to perform more
than once. “They all want to come back and play,” Chandler said.
“The people listen to the music instead of trying to talk over it. They don’t have TVs that they’re trying to compete with. The word is spreading through the musician’s community that this is a great place to play, so they contact me.”
In addition to Take Five’s Facebook page and website, dates for the live entertainment can be found in a few local news outlets.
“We send press releases with the dates to the Kansas City Star, The Pitch and the Jazz Ambassadors magazine,” she said. “There are a variety of blogs in the area that cover music, and we try to reach all of those people as well.”
Chandler said Take Five is used for more than live entertainment.
“We’ve had a couple of Girl Scout meetings here,” Chandler said. “We do private parties. We’ve had birthday parties and anniversary parties here where we’ll actually close down, and they get the entire shop. You’ll see individuals on their computers working all day, so it’s kind of an office away from home. We have a couple of knitting groups that meet here which is really cool — just social purposes. People just get together here and talk, so it’s a little bit of everything.”
Chandler said the number of people that come to each performance depends on who is performing.
“The comedy troupe obviously brings out a lot of teenagers,” she said. “For the most part, it depends on the artist that’s playing. Some groups will bring a primarily young professional kind of crowd, but on any given night you’ll see maybe there’s a study group up here from high school, and they’ll stay and listen to music. They aren’t necessarily up front watching. They may be back in one of the booths, but it’s a pretty diverse crowd.”
Local guitarist Dan Bliss has performed about three or four times at the coffee shop.
“I love the place,” he said. “I play for a living, and there are very nice folks here. They obviously have an apprecia- tion for art and music.”
Bliss said he thinks there is a great lineup of music.
“There aren’t many places presenting live music,” he said. “Any places supporting it is a big place.”
The Fifth Wall Comedy Troupe is planning to perform at Take Five again on Dec. 9.
“They really like us there,” Fifth Wall member, senior Alex Petersen said. “We pull a big crowd. A lot of us go there to do homework and stuff anyway, so we find the place to be pretty comfortable. We can perform there without feeling wary of the surroundings.”
Petersen said he likes performing there because it has a close, cozy atmosphere.
“You can really interact with the audience, and you know you can fill the space easily,” he said. “You’re not going to look tiny because if you’re on a big stage, and you have a six, seven person team, it’s going to look like you’re not a very big team, but if you’re in a smaller place, it seems fine. You just feel like performing there because it’s just a lot of fun, and it’s a risk-free environment. If we make a joke that’s not funny, they aren’t going to judge us.”
He has also seen other performances at Take Five, such as the Know Idea Trio.
“I thought that, even though it was a little loud, they did bring in people who I didn’t see at Take Five very much — people who really enjoy jazz music,” Petersen said. “I love it, so if it brings in more people to keep them there and keep them getting a profit, then I’m all for it.”