842 Fourth St., San Rafael
What do they offer?
George’s is a family owned and operated club, with a throw back feeling to better years with mahogany bars and retro 1940s neon signs. George’s offers a diverse live music schedule, with recent acts that include Jesse Colin Young, Pablo Cruise, Pete Escovedo, Roy Rogers, Carlos Reyes, Lester Chambers, Maria Muldaur, Bonnie Hayes, Gregg Rollie and Commander Cody.
George's has also nourished and partnered with local bands including Pride & Joy, Petty Theft, Vinyl, The Edge, Its’ a Beautiful Day, The Sun Kings, The Unauthorized Rolling Stones and Wallstreet.
Most importantly, George's is a fun venue with a great, young and enthusiastic staff.
Who are they?
Todd Ghanizadeh graduated in 1988. He then studied dance with Marin Ballet and San Francisco Ballet, which led to him performing with the American Ballet Theatre and Boston Ballet in the 1990s. After returning to Marin in 1999, he started , a San Rafael-based recruiting company specializing in finance, technology and accounting fields. He is divorced with three children, ages 15, 10 and 6.
How long have they been there?
A plaque across the street from George's at 842 Fourth St. claims that George's had its early roots as a recreational pool hall. Fast forward to the late 1940s, when the site was a recreation parlor operated by George Lefevre (the original "George"). Lefevre, a Canadian citizen, operated the club before WWII and later went off to war only to return and re-establish George's as a fixture in Marin County. In 1949, George remodeled the venue to make it a bar, bowling alley and poolroom. From 1977 to 2003, George's went through multiple owners. Tom Batch and Dan Campell changed the name to New George's, and ran it successfully for many years. Don Schwartz later left his mark on George's by bringing in multiple big-name performers. Lastly, F.W. "Butch" Byrnes operated and owned New George's until it closed in 2003. Ghanizadeh, the current owner, began construction on the current George's Nightclub in 2010, transforming into its current incarnation as a sleek 1940's style club.
Why are they in our Business Spotlight?
George’s has been a staple of Marin County since 1927 and it is his wish to keep it going and gather enough customers to make it a very successful live venue and outlet for the community.
His first year with the business has been challenging as he had stage 4 cancer, which is now in remission. For him, the tricky part of building a club is booking the shows and hoping that the Marin audience will turn out and support it. He compares it to the movie Field of Dreams: build it and they will come.
With precious few venues to see live bands, up-and-coming comedians and do more than drink, George's is a vital aspect of downtown San Rafael. Ghanizadeh has no intention of letting George's go dormant again, but he does have a request for potential patrons: "Come on Marin, I built it and now please come!"