It's good to have a plan and even better when it falls into place and works, and the folks at Locals Bar in Pawnee can claim to have accomplished that mission. Located on the north side of the square in this small town about 15 miles south of Springfield and a few miles east of I-55, Locals worked to become a good music venue and the proof is in the pudding and the votes.
A first-time winner in this category, the well-built, nicely designed and always immaculate outdoor beer garden is the key to making this place the best around. Bands enjoy playing on the good-sized stage and patrons of the music can gather in a wrap-around balcony as well as a dance area and ground floor seating.
It doesn't hurt one bit that along with the good music, there's a finely stocked bar and deliciously good restaurant that's open late to entice listeners to the venue for more than the entertainment factor. An important aspect of the overall plan of the place was and is keeping things local, including fitting well into the existing downtown area and repurposing pieces from the previous establishments that once occupied the Locals space into the current building.
From solo acoustic acts and open mics on to up-and-comers just beginning to hit the stage and the most-established bands in the area, the word is out and the award is in that Locals in Pawnee is the best small venue around for live music. Even though the venue is only relatively small, the reaction is definitely big and appreciated among our readers, and those attending this fine and growing business that has a plan and makes it work.