Happy Birthday, Allyn's!

Allyn’s Café, that fantastic little Cajun/Mexican restaurant tucked along Columbia Parkway, is turning 20 years old and this Sunday they’re having a blowout party to celebrate, featuring food and drink specials and live music all day. —-

As their motto goes, Allyn’s is “More Than A Café.” In 2001, Allyn’s opened its Wine and Beer Shoppe. And, of course, it has played hosted to numerous local musical acts over the years. I have many great memories from Allyn’s old songwriters’ night, where you could catch some of Cincinnati’s best singer/songwriters every week (you can still catch many local gems there every Tuesday night at Allyn’s open mic at 9 p.m.). (My favorite Allyn’s memory, though, was when my partner and I had our “last meal” before going to the hospital to welcome my daughter into the world seven years ago. There were no complications — that spicy food really did the trick!)

There’s also been the extensive residency of the Blue Birds Big Band every Sunday. Often you’ll see a local star or two sit in with the band, but this is an all-star band already, featuring Marcos Sastre on guitar, Allyn’s Café founder Allyn Raifstanger on trumpet, Steve Schmidt on keys, Rick Powell on drums, Adam Scovanner on bass, Eric Campbell on trombone, Hal Melia on sax and Chris Arduser on drums/percussion. The band plays each Sunday at 9 p.m.

More recently, Allyn’s added another music night. Every Monday at 6:30 p.m., Cincy’s amazing “Gypsy Jazz” band The Faux Frenchmen perform their mix of “Jazz manouche” standards and their own creative compositions in the same style.

The club/restaurant also hosts musicians on weekends occasionally. Friday, you can catch Tickled Pink (the eclectic trio featuring ex-raisins Bob Nyswonger, Bam Powell and Scott Covrett) at 9 p.m. and local legends The Goshorn Brothers perform Saturday at 9 p.m.

For Sunday’s b-day blowout, Allyn’s presents a day’s worth of music starting at 3 p.m. with “Power Blues” foursome The Leo Clarke Band. At 6 p.m., cover band Toneyard (who plays everything from The Beatles and Johnny Cash to Green Day and Franz Ferdinand) take the stage.

Closing out the night, fittingly, is the regular Sunday night Blue Birds crew. But expect plenty of surprises during the Blue Birds Big Band’s set with the Tusculum Horns. You never know who might show up.

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