Coffee Tavern

The Coffee Tavern will open in September at 2828 Second Ave. N. in downtown Billings.

ERIK OLSON/ Gazette photo

The Coffee Tavern, a 24-hour java joint that will feature live music, will open in mid- to late September at 2828 Second Ave. N. in downtown Billings, owner Larry Heafner said last week.

The opening had been delayed because Heafner and his partner, Matt Gilg, were ironing out the last details of the interior design for city building and occupancy permits. Heafner said he received the final approval last week.

The two announced in June they would be renovating and moving into the former longtime home of Neecee’s, which consolidated in the spring into its Shiloh Crossing store on Billings West End.

Gilg will also operate a sister business, a recording and media production studio, inside the 2,800-square-foot space.

Heafner, who also owns a construction company and event production firm, said he wants to provide a festive, tavern-like venue appropriate for all ages.

“We’re leaning toward the family atmosphere, where kids can enjoy stuff,” he said.

Maximum occupancy at the Coffee Tavern will be 98 people, and Heafner said most acts won’t have a cover charge. Larger concerts may require the charge, he said.

The arrival of the new venue will come at a busy time for downtown entertainment in Billings. A few blocks away, the Pub Station at 2502 First Ave. N. is planning to double in size to hold 800 people for concerts.

The Alberta Bair is also raising money for an expansion, and Billings city officials are preparing to take ownership of the historic Babcock Theatre and boost events there.

Heafner said the Coffee Tavern likely won’t compete directly with these venues. It will instead attract smaller, more intimate acts, such as acoustic and jazz musicians.

He added that he also hopes to serve as an after-hours hangout where people can get coffee and a sandwich after bars close. He plans to hire extra staff, particularly on the weekends, to work those late nights.

The Coffee Tavern will have about a dozen employees.

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