Sparking Aberdeen’s live music scene

It was Jessy Knutson’s dream to own her own business. With help and support from her husband Dustin, she’s making it a reality in downtown Aberdeen.

“Ever since I was 18, I’ve worked in restaurants and mom-and-pop shops,” said Jessy Knutson, who has worked, among other places, for both Ace of Clubs Tavern in Hoquiam and ShuJack’s Bar and Grill in Elma. “My dream was to have my own place, and here I am at 35.”

While it’s taken a while to realize the dream, it’s here and it sounds as though the Knutsons have thought carefully about how to make it last and become the success they hope it to be.

Messy Jessy’s Bar and Grill — 212 S. I St., will not only broadcast live Seattle sports to their hungry and thirsty customers who are there for a meal and a few drinks. It will also host live music.

The Knutsons took ownership of the business Game Day Sports Bar and Grill on Aug. 9, but on Saturday, they’ll be officially rebranding it to match what Jessica said was more her style. Jessy explained she and her husband’s vision for the place.

“Our mission is to be a beacon for quality live music, greasy spoon home-cooking, and amazing cocktails in a unique environment,” she said. With the assistance of companies like Seattle label Redact Records, we hope to establish a home for touring acts and entertainment through Aberdeen. All of this while giving back to the community in as many ways as possible. We promise to always serve fresh cut and made-in-house food and to maintain a fun and inviting establishment for all.”

While the ideas the Knutsons share are grand, it sounds like they might have what it takes, because Jessy has worn many different hats in the restaurant industry her entire adult life.

“When I was 18, I managed a mom-and-pop place called Steamboat Annie’s,” she said. “From then on, every restaurant or bar and grill I have worked at, I’ve managed, and worked all positions from server, cook, bartender to even running karaoke. I’m 35 now and finally have the chance to do it for myself and my family.”

For people who do not crave a beer with their fish and chips, nachos, pizza or any other fare the restaurant serves, the restaurant has a full bar and it’s up and running. And the menu continues to expand. Jessy explained how.

“There will be a few additions to the menu,” Jessy said. “I have been consistently upgrading since I took over in August.”

In addition to the expanding menu, the restaurant will also feature specials — including a nightly dinner special that will include a “pizza night.”

As far as the location goes — there have been a few owners in the last year-plus — the Knutsons liked it from the start.

“The moment my husband and I walked into this building we fell in love,” Jessy said. “Paul Metke, the building owner, has done an amazing job keeping this piece of history alive with it being a Masonic temple at one point. We had to share this hidden treasure, not to mention, I love to cook and the kitchen is to die for.”

Jessy doubled down on how much she loves the kitchen when she and Dustin took The Daily World on a short tour of the place.

“I love the kitchen,” Jessy said enthusiastically. “This is the most awesome kitchen.”

The couple is excited for noon on Saturday. Not only is it the official start of Messy Jessy’s, but they’ll be able to show off the new signs, finished decor, an updated menu and drink specials. And then at 9 p.m., the real fun begins. Jessy said they’ll party “a little harder,” after 9.

“The live music will start at 9 p.m., for 21-and-over,” said Jessy, who added the restaurant will be “kid friendly,” until 9 p.m.

Admission for the live show is either a cash donation or a non-perishable food item. The donations will go to the Salvation Army Food Bank.

The two bands — “Alien Nation,” a “roots inspired alternative rock and roll band” from Seattle, and “The Hard Money Saints,” a “high energy blues rooted rockabilly band” from Tacoma, will provide the atmosphere Saturday night.

Jessy, who couldn’t keep the smile off her face Wednesday, gave them both a nice plug ahead of the show.

“They both are amazing,” said Jessy, who added they’ll play original music, not covers. “They will put on an unforgettable show.”

Jessy said the goal for the business is to spark more music interest throughout Aberdeen.

“We’re trying to bring in new, fresh bands, different bands,” Jessy said. “I’d like to get Aberdeen back on the map. We are the main stop between Portland and Seattle.”

Contact Reporter Matthew N. Wells at