We recently had the opportunity to speak with Johnny Grimes, one of the key players in a major upcoming renovation for the Magic City music scene. Grimes shared with us that he and other partners will be purchasing WorkPlay, a music venue, recording studio, and workspace, with the intention of making major renovations to the well-known venue. Grimes and his partners have a primary interest in leaning into the incredible history of the venue while positioning it for a wildly successful future.


Opened in 2001, WorkPlay was known as a leading premier music venue in Birmingham. The venue offered shows by incredible acts from Jimmy Eat World to Sturgill Simpson. WorkPlay’s recording studios were the birthplace of Maroon 5’s first live album. Six years ago, Bob Dylan did a private recording of a song that he wrote for Tony Bennett’s 90th birthday party. It was aired live on NBC and the venue was broadcast to the nation.


In later years, unfortunate circumstances, and later the COVID-19 pandemic, led to the venue not being utilized to its previous potential. Grimes was highly familiar with the space and always believed in its impact, so when the opportunity arose for him and his partners to purchase the property, it was an opportunity he could not pass up.

Grimes and his partners have a master plan for the venue with a first phase that includes tripling the size of the bar and remodeling other areas throughout the building. The WorkPlay building is home to three different musical halls, two recording studios, a bar, and 12 different office spaces (hence the name WorkPlay). All areas of the building will see renovation by Grimes and team.

Grimes is confident that they have assembled a great team that will be able to execute. Every partner included in the process has been hand-picked for their specific set of expertise. With a strong vision and the team to back it, Grimes expects the first event in the newly remodeled space to take place in January of 2024.

Grimes’s ultimate goal is to elevate WorkPlay and bring it into the modern era. His team intends to offer incredible experiences within the renovated space from well-run shows to state-of-the-art event and work spaces.