Brick15 music club in Del Mar closes after nine months

Brick15 in Del Mar, which featured a first-class array of singer-songwriters over the past nine months, has closed.
(Kristina Houck)

Brick15, the Del Mar coffee house and live music club that opened last July and featured top national singer-songwriters, closed on Monday, April 17.

The reason for the closure was a lack of financing and sufficient customer support to remain in operation, according to Laura and Liam Murphy. The Carmel Valley couple owned and operated the 1,800-square-foot venue, which was located at 916 Camino Del Mar.

“We’re pretty speechless at the moment,” Laura Murphy said Monday in an email to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

“While we continued to believe in our vision, and are extremely grateful to the many kind folks who shared our dreams, there are not enough of us. While business growth was good, it was not fast enough to attract or secure the financing we needed, and we are now unable to continue. When the last of our possible investors backed out, we were forced to face the reality that we had reached the end of our run.”

Laura Murphy is the former night manager of Club Passim in Cambridge, Mass., a highly regarded folk-music club. A former neuroscience researcher, she and her husband opened Brick15 with the hope of emulating the musical excellence and success of Club Passim. They succeeded on the first count.

In its nine months of operation, Brick 15 hosted performances by such acclaimed singer-songwriters as Erin McKeown, Nickel Creek alum Sean Watkins, noted troubadour Kim Richey, Encinitas-based Jack Tempchin, who wrote “Peaceful Easy Feeling” for the Eagles, Throwing Muses’ co-founder Kristin Hersh, NPR Tiny Desk contest-winner Gaelynn Lea, and — just nine days ago — Iain Matthews, the co-founder of the pioneering English folk-rock band Fairport Convention.

“They were bringing in a lot of great people that I never thought I would get to see here, and especially not in a perfect little room like that,” said Tempchin who played several times at Brick15, including streaming a Facebook Live performance.

“(The Murrays) are the real deal and they are super-dedicated to the music. I thought they had all the skills to make it work and I thought the coffee shop alone would have been profitable. It’s sad they had to close.”

“We’ve been through a lot over the years,” Laura Murphy said, “but this is definitely heartbreaking,”

Brick15 had three concerts booked for this week, including a Thursday show by veteran folkie Eric Andersen. Those performances have been canceled, as have all the Brick15 shows that had been booked through October.

In a message Monday to people on the Brick15 mailing list, the Murphys wrote: “We intend to do our best to issue ticket refunds and pro-rated membership refunds as part of our liquidation process.

“Thank you to everyone who believed in us, we are sorry we let you down.”

-- George Varga is a writer for The San Diego Union-Tribune