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Natural Awakenings Northwest Florida

LIVE Music,Local Art, Healthy Food

Jul 05, 2018 02:06PM ● By Sam Smith

Ric Kindle has spent the last 18 months making a lifelong vision come to fruition. The Pensacola event coordinator, art crusader, yoga instructor and show promoter has transformed a historic car wash at 532 West Garden Street into Live!, a raw juice bar and an art and music venue.

Kindle has been an advocate for local art and music and a healthier community for more than 40 years. He connected with Pensacola developer David Wu last June, when he was looking for a location for the third installment of his Curated Compassion series, an interactive art and music event featuring local talent. When Kindle approached Wu about using the space for an additional project, Wu said that he wanted the location—a two-bay car wash built in 1951— to encompass healthy living and something that Pensacola didn’t already have. 

It didn’t take long for Kindle to come up with a new idea for how to use the space. He wanted to create a place that offered healthy food and drink options as well as live music and art.

“The thought was to have two separate entities,” he says. So if someone wanted to lease the venue space, people could come in through the front door without having to go to the restaurant, and vice versa. The doors could also be opened to connect the two spaces. 

As Kindle searched for the right investor for the project, kitchen manager Jesse James Edwards shared videos on social media about the progress being made at the new venue. Josh Hight, founder of the nonprofit organization Divine Presents, saw the videos and came to meet Kindle. Soon the two were working together to make his vision come to life.

“I’d been saying that the right person could just walk through the door, and that’s exactly what happened,” Kindle recalls.

Together he and Hight put in countless work hours. With the help of many others, including Divine Presents, they gave the historic location a new pulse. 


Live! Opening Soon

Live! is expected to open between the middle and the end of July. Hours of operation will be from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, unless there is a show, in which case just the kitchen will close at 8 p.m. A drive-through will operate from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the restaurant side, serving only breakfast, juice, coffee and tea. The spaces will be connected whenever Live! hosts a show. Kindle also plans to hold an art opening once a month in the long hallway that separates the two spaces.

With a moveable stage, the venue can be configured to suit many different event styles, Kindle says. It can cater to workshops, educational classes, open mics and yoga classes, as well as spiritual music, local musicians and touring acts, offering an intimate performance space with a maximum capacity of 125 people. The restaurant side will hold refurbished tables painted by local artist Rafi Perez and light fixtures designed by local glass artist Jacob Moody.

“I think this is going to be amazing for Pensacola,” says Perez. “Everything Live! represents is about community, creativity, mindfulness and love, which I think reflects a part of our culture that is looking for a place to call their own. I’m sure it will very quickly become an icon in Pensacola.”


A Destination Spot

The all plant-based and vegan menu will offer several raw starters, salads, entrees and soups, and Kindle says the menu will continue to grow as the location does. Some of the entrees will include zucchini pasta with Alfredo sauce and dehydrated eggplant bacon and a dehydrated beat burger wrapped in a chard with fermented onions and microgreens. 

Kombucha, a type of fermented tea thought to have many health benefits, will be available on tap, provided by Magnolia Kombucha, based in Daphne, Alabama. During the day, the space will have a café vibe, while at night a lighting change will create a restaurant atmosphere. 

Kindle expects Live! to become a destination restaurant, offering a place to those who have expressed interest in and supported his project, from Fairhope, Alabama, to Fort Walton. He says it targets an ever-growing group of individuals, including a health-conscious population, millennials who grew up eating nutritious food, yoga practitioners, and people who’ve been instructed by doctors and nutritionists to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

“The support in the community is crazy—it’s like a dream,” he says. “All the things I’ve done are coming to one place: conscious living, conscious eating, live music, live food.” 

Drop by Live! to submit an application. All positions are cross-trained. For updates on the official opening and additional information, visit Live Juice Bar and More on Facebook.

Sam Smith is a local freelance writer who has written for the Pensacola News Journal and its digital application, The Bacon. Her poetry has been published in the online academic journal Feminist Spaces.

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