‘New’ Piere’s aims to offer a destination for entertainment on the Northeast side

Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, the once-legendary Piere’s Entertainment Center on Fort Wayne's Northeast side is enjoying a rebirth as a destination for music and culture. 

After sitting empty for several years following the previous owner Stan Liddell’s death, a team of ambitious owners, including Mike Judy, Nick Katsilieris, and Osmaan Raja are looking to put the entertainment complex on the map once again.

The exterior of Piere's Entertainment Center.
Lindsey Corwin is on the front lines, so to speak, as the Street Team Director. As she explains, her job is to engage with the community and help rally interest in their programming. As COVID case counts drop and people feel more comfortable in indoor venues, Corwin is hoping that translates into more ticket sales. For context, concert giant Live Nation has booked twice as many shows and tour dates in 2022 as it did in 2019.

The last few years have kept venues and promoters guessing, and some have been more successful at managing the uncertainty than others. As Corwin explains, the trio of owners first attempted to open the facility in early March 2020. 

“They wanted to bring it back to the glory days,” she says. “They all got excited about it and went ahead and pulled the trigger. And then a few weeks later, the pandemic hit. But they decided to use that time to do some renovations. And then we opened back up for shows in 2021.” 
Patrons inside one of Piere's Entertainment Center's venues.
According to Corwin, they’ve been blessed by community support. In 2021, they were able to execute their first full lineup of shows. It also doesn't hurt that the owners—who are from out of town—are humble and know when to seek insight from others.

“These guys are all about mentoring, and they’re really letting us spread our creative wings, so they value our input,” she says. “They listen to what we say when we tell them because Fort Wayne is so different than any other city.”

On the note of novelty, Corwin says they want to market the venue as being inclusive by offering a variety of music, comedy, and different forms of entertainment. In other words, they want to bring it back to its previous stature, in some respects. 
Bobby McGee's is one of the many venues located inside Piere's Entertainment Center.

“Those of us who remember what it was (like) in the glory days, we want to introduce it also to the newer generation and bring those two generations together under one roof,” says Corwin. 

Speaking of roofs, the owners also invested in the bones of the buildings. 

“We did some renovating," says Corwin."We now have a couple of different styles of venues under one roof. Because that was always the motto back in the day—a bunch of venues under one roof.”

For instance, they have Bobby McGee’s in their portfolio. This is a family-friendly place for trivia, karaoke, music, bingo, etc. Adjacent to Bobby McGee’s is what they call Stan’s Room—a nod to the previous longtime owner and a multi-purpose room. It has arcade games and pools tables and is connected to the restaurant so it can be rented out for corporate events or birthday parties. It has a small stage and a capacity of about 400 people. For those who want more of a taste of nightlife, there’s Club Escape. 
Bobby McGee's is one of the many venues located inside Piere's Entertainment Center.
Taking it back to old school, many patrons will remember the Piere’s main stage. According to Corwin, it has state-of-the-art sound and lights and a brand-new stage. And when it comes to live music, concert-goers have another choice on the Piere’s campus. 

“We have an incredible stage set up in that we can have people outside in the parking lot right in the front, which then enables us to have higher-caliber artists because we can hold more people out in that outside area,” she says. 
A look at the interior of Inside Piere's Entertainment Center.

According to Corwin, Piere’s campus and Fort Wayne’s burgeoning live music scene, as a whole, bodes well for the community. In other words, there’s room for competition. In fact, Corwin relishes it. 

“The more venues we have here, the more recognition that Fort Wayne is going to get in the entertainment industry,” she says. “Fort Wayne is growing, and I think there's a very diverse group of people who live here, so (having more options) means we don't really look at it as a negative, but as a positive.”
 

Read more articles by Lauren Caggiano.

Lauren Caggiano is a Fort Wayne-based writer. A 2007 graduate of the University of Dayton, she returned to Northeast Indiana to pursue a career. In the past 12 years she has worked in journalism, public relations, marketing, and digital media. She currently writes for several local, regional, and national publications.