Last week Township co-owner Mark “Max” Brumbach sold his stake in the Logan Square restaurant-slash-venue to a trio of new owners: Logan Arcade beer buyer Steveo Segel, Logan Arcade general manager Megann Lesnick, and Naked Raygun bassist Fritz Doreza, who also works at Logan Square bar and venue Quenchers Saloon. “When [Brumbach] was thinking he needed to leave I approached Steveo,” says Township co-owner Tamiz Haiderali. He says the changeover became official Friday, though it will take at least a few weeks for the bureaucratic paperwork to wrap up.
Brumbach came to Township nearly one year ago, just before Thanksgiving. The veteran musician bought out Brian Peterson’s ownership of Township, which severed the relationship between Peterson’s music-booking company MP Presents and the venue. Brumbach, who opened Wicker Park’s Smoke Daddy in 1994 and restored and reopened Humboldt Park’s California Clipper in 1998, had big plans for Township’s venue, which he shared with local writer Dave Hoekstra in February.
Township’s music calendar almost immediately expanded upon the punk and rock of MP Presents to include jazz, house, and hip-hop. During MP Presents’ watch Township became a magnet for small but vital touring punk acts; its calendar was one I’d keep track of on a weekly basis, and I’d frequently want to go to more shows there than I could possibly manage.The music calendar became spottier after Brumbach took over, and with that change my tendency to scope out the venue’s upcoming shows declined. On a couple occasions I’d found out about Gant-Man‘s DJ nights at Township not from looking at the venue’s website but rather from the producer’s Instagram the day (or night) of the show.
I’m optimistic about Haiderali’s new partners, in part because Segel in particular has experience booking for an intimate venue. “I’ve been working in and running bars for probably almost 20 years,” Segel says. He got his first gig at the Pontiac Cafe in the late 90s and moved over to Quenchers in 2000. “[I was the] booking guy at Quenchers from 2001 to 2012, so I booked over 1,000 shows at Quenchers,” he says. “We had a very eclectic lineup there, from old blues guys to young jazz guys to rap bands.”
Segel and Haiderali had been friends long before Haiderali approached Segel with the idea to become partners—they are, in Haiderali’s words, members of a “mutual admiration society.” “I always thought he would be a great person to work with,” Segel says. “I was always kind of hoping one day this day would come. When it did I jumped at the chance.”
With his new position Segel aims to focus a little more on rock bands, though he remains open to eclecticism. And he’s already looking to book up the Township calendar. “I’m trying to get stuff for this month, if we can, but it is very short notice,” he says. Segel also has plans to expand Township’s beer selection in the future, but he, Lesnick, and Doreza are just getting their feet wet with their new gig. “We’re gonna be doing double duty between our other jobs and here for a while,” Segel says. “But all of us intend to help make this place everything it can be.”