When I heard about a 26,000 square foot country bar opening on Second Street between Poplar and Cherry, I admit I was skeptical. I couldn’t imagine anyone with the determination, the funds, and the enthusiasm that would be needed to turn an abandoned building with a hole in the roof, into a club that could very well change the face of downtown Macon, if it’s successful. Then I met Ricky Hill. Ricky is a country boy from Reynolds, Georgia who grew up on a farm and is no stranger to hard work and vision. When Oak View Country Club was a bunch of trees and dirt, Ricky saw a golf course. He also helped turn an old empty warehouse into The Big Peach Antique Mall in Byron. And to say his vision for his latest project is contagious is an understatement. Hill and his partner Ricky Bennett have big plans.
Ricky came up with the idea of The Crazy Bull, as it will be called, when he was out on tour with his son-in- law, rising country star Jared Ashley. He took notice of the best things about the best venues, and realized that there was a need, and a hole in downtown Macon, for country music. Also through Ashley, Hill met his partner Ricky Bennett from Denton, GA. Though Hill had been working on the Crazy Horse for a year, he needed an investor and a partner. Jared had met Bennett on a tour through Denton and hooked the two up. Two weeks later they were hard at work.
The first stage of the build was a downstairs bar appropriately named The Brick House at the Crazy Bull. It’s built from salvaged bricks from the demo phase. A brick bar, a brick stage, you get the idea. When finished, the Crazy Bull will feature three separate venues and the project will cost close to a million dollars. The main floor of the Crazy Bull stretches the entire length of the building and will feature a big stage. This will actually be open for Bragg Jam and Jared Ashley will be headlining. It will eventually have a late night café called “The Midnight Rider Café”. Ricky hopes patrons will decide to stay after last call and eat while their cabs are on their way. There will also be several rooms upstairs, a VIP area from which you can look down on the main stage, and a banquet room for rentals, a small live space for recording and rehearsal, and a Dave and Busters type game room with old school Skeet Ball and vintage arcades. At full throttle, the Crazy Bull could have four bands playing simultaneously. It will mostly focus on Country and Rock and Roll.
For such a huge project, Ricky doesn’t seem to have missed any bases. He’s worked closely with the Mayors office and is a huge part of the Second Street corridor; he’s hired consultants to tell him how to best set his bar service up. When I was there they were running underground lines for Coke products to be centralized in one room. He has already begun talks with booking companies in Nashville and plans to have space for travelling bands to sleep for free when they are passing through town.
With space for 2200 people, downtown better get ready, if the two Ricky’s have their way, Macon is in for another kind of flood.
- Brad Evans, the 11th Hour