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‘Centerpiece of the downtown community’: Tidball’s property for sale

Von Smith
Bowling Green music venue Tidball’s–now up for sale–is seen on the night of September 13, 2023.

The popular music venue and bar located in downtown Bowling Green, Tidball’s, announced that their property is for sale after over 20 years of business.

John Tidball and Brian Jarvis came to Bowling Green to attend college and worked at a local bar. After a year of working together, they decided they wanted to open their own location and purchased the building where the former Parakeet Cafe had been located. 

Two months later, in December 2001, Tidball’s officially opened.

In the last 22 years, Tidball’s has become a “centerpiece of the Downtown community,” and a way for the local music scene to thrive, Jarvis said.

Performers such as Sleeper Agent, The Josephines, Peter the Freshman, Morning Teleportation, Moon Taxi and Cage the Elephant are just some of the many musicians that have played shows at Tidball’s.

Zach Lindsey, singer and lead guitarist of The Josephines, started playing at Tidball’s in the early 2000’s with his high school band, The Secret. Cage the Elephant, then known as Perfect Confusion, would ask Lindsey’s band to open for their shows.

Tony Smith, known as Tonyboyy and previously as a member of Sleeper Agent, performed at Tidball’s around the same time; after he and another member of The Secret turned 21 together.

Both said that Tidball’s always felt like home, and are grateful for everything Tidball and Jarvis have done for them.

“They always kept everybody safe, made sure everybody got paid, and made sure everybody always had a place to come home to,” Lindsey said.

Jarvis described the community of Tidball’s as a family. He said he and Tidball both consider the people that have spent time there as more than performers or patrons; he sees them as his friends.

“They’re not just people that come in, listen to music, have a few beers and pay us money,” Jarvis said. “We genuinely care about each other. Our kids play together, go to school together. It’s just something special that I never thought it would grow into.”

Tidball and Jarvis have decided to sell the property in order to focus on their personal lives and their own families. Jarvis has a wife of 18 years and a 9-year-old daughter that he wants to be there for.

“I think it’s time for me to really see the larger picture of what’s most important […] I don’t want to miss a single thing that my daughter is going to be involved with,” Jarvis said.

Jarvis never thought that Tidball’s would have become a haven for music lovers and that it would leave such a legacy. He is proud of what he and Tidball have accomplished together and is now ready to shift his focus on other aspects of his life.

“I’ve done everything I’ve wanted to do at Tidball’s and a million things more […] It’s just time. It’s just time to walk away. My wife deserves it, my child deserves it and I deserve it. I’ve given it my all for 22 years,”Jarvis said.

Smith said he hopes Tidball and Jarvis continue to do whatever they are happy doing, and that whoever purchases the property will “carry the torch” of Tidball’s’ legacy.

Tidball’s will have a 22nd anniversary event in December and will honor all planned shows for the remainder of the year. Tidball and Jarvis are in no rush to sell, and are hopeful that whoever the property is sold to will love the community, the arts and Bowling Green as much as they have.

“Go to Tidball’s before it’s gone […] go patronize the place,” Lindsey said.

News Reporter Ali Costellow can be reached at [email protected]

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