In a town of wineries and tasting rooms, Healdsburg’s the Elephant in the Room has made an impact with craft beers and live music—and the locals love it. The intimate venue is the product of Healdsburg native, musician, booker and occasional bartender KC Mosso and Santa Rosa public-house Toad in the Hole founder Paul Stokeld. By joining their passions together, the pair have crafted the Elephant in the Room into a friendly local venue that this month marks a year of camaraderie.
“It’s been quite an adventure,” says Mosso, who books bands from across the country to play along with the North Bay’s local collection of rock stars. “I do everything from rock ’n’ roll and reggae, to Tex-Mex and flamenco. I figure good music is good music.”
Mosso has been hosting events and promoting shows in Healdsburg since he founded an open mic at Bear Republic Brewing Company in the 1990s. He’s brought international acts like the Wailers to the Raven Theater, put on local music showcases at the Ravenous Café and played in eclectic bands like Crazy Famous and Crowbot.
When the space for the venue became available last year, Mosso contacted longtime friend Stokeld, and the two partnered up. Stokeld coined the name the Elephant in the Room to acknowledge the watering hole’s beer-focused offerings in the heart of wine country.
“You could tell people just really needed some music in this town,” says Mosso. “I’ve been seeing people coming in that I haven’t seen in years. It’s been sweet to see people out there smiling and dancing.”
This week, the Elephant in the Room packs several live shows into its calendar. On Friday, Oct. 12, eclectic jazz-funk band Sakoyana plays a blistering set of original jams. On Saturday, Oct. 13, a double-bill brings the Reverend Hylton out of Atlanta in for an early evening set of melodic Americana before San Francisco roots-rock and reggae act Burnt parties down. Sunday, Oct. 14, is what Mosso is calling his “Elephalooza” with a lineup starting at 2pm featuring Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash, Aqua Velvets and Lagunitas Brewing Company founder Tony Magee’s band, Alice Drinks the Kool-Aid. On Oct. 27, the pub celebrates its one-year anniversary with another daylong concert party.
“I want people to feel like this is a sanctuary,” says Mosso of the venue. “I want to be able to create a safe space for people to enjoy music and each other.”
The Elephant in the Room is located at 177 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg. Open daily, noon to midnight. elephantintheroompub.com.