If you’ve driven down Grand Central Avenue in Vienna over the past year or so, chances are you’ve seen a certain large building in progress, and wondered what it might be. Just a few months ago, a sign went up which said “Serenity,” which showed a slice of the world – and it just may have gotten your attention, making you wonder what was to come.
Then in January, Serenity Coffee House officially opened its doors, and the offerings look promising. Located at 1903 Grand Central, Serenity offers three floors of space with different opportunities on each floor (and enough parking areas to house everyone inside). The upper level is often filled with movement classes – Zumba and Belly Dance are among their current offerings. The second floor is more of a peaceful hangout, with private space for eating/drinking, meetings and events (with optional catering). The main floor is spacious – from the welcoming entry and small stage to your right as you arrive, to plenty of areas for separate conversations (the seating in the back of Serenity has good views overlooking the train tracks and the river), playing with your little ones, eating/drinking and performing (and listening to) live music and spoken word. The main floor also hosts the oxygen bar, coffee shop with brunch/snack options (which has gluten-free and vegetarian options, traditional Bulgarian foods, meal replacement smoothies, and local goods from JRs Donuts and other local fare).
Many public events also take place near the stage area – Latin and Disco themed dance night parties, open mic nights for teenagers and adults, live musical performances, social nights, mommy and me events, book club meetings, game nights and poetry readings. All are a part of Serenity’s lineup for entertainment and activities.
I was lucky enough to visit a recent Serenity Open Mic night (every Monday from 6 – 8 p.m.), hosted by Aaron Whited. He did a great job of keeping things flowing, and I loved the variety of acts that night: spoken word, acoustic artists, a lovely lapsteel guitar player named Chase Brady, numerous other talented vocalists, a band called Rescue Rangers with an awesome upright bass, and three of the four members of Tribe (which Whited plays guitar for, and fronts). Each act shared samples of their work to a supportive and encouraging audience, and it felt comfortable being there.
There are also plans to continue hosting a monthly teen open mic night. Serenity is excited to offer many family friendly and all ages events and activities, and wants to make sure Mid-Ohio Valley teenagers have an option for open mic, where they could have more focused support – just for their age group. Entertainment Manager Sherri Killen and her husband Bruce are committed to bringing people together in this space and their goals are to grow and strengthen the local musical community, and support our Valley’s artists, as well as enhance the entertainment showcase with nationally known acoustic shows.
In addition to open mic nights, I was also able to stop by a Serenity poetry reading night (which will likely happen once a month). Hosted by Susan Sheppard, a very talented artist and poet, published author and guide for the highly ranked Haunted Parkersburg Ghost Tours, the night was filled with a wide range of writings including stories, poems, encouragement and inspiration. Many of the attendees for this open to the public event are also part of a local writer’s group, and have major talent, throughout. But whether a writer’s group member, seasoned individual writer, newbie and/or simply a writing fan, there to listen, the atmosphere was very welcoming, and all the writers/speakers were appreciated and applauded.
There’s a great community that’s growing in our area, and Serenity wants to give it a place to call home, to see their friends and to support one another.
But the happenings don’t stop there. If you’d like to see what’s happening throughout the month, check out their Facebook page.
Don’t have time to stop in and hang out (they’re open from 7 a.m. -8 p.m., Monday-Saturday)? They also have a drive-thru.