CHIMACUM — Dancing to the live, in-person music this weekend at the Keg & I isn’t allowed, but you could say Keith Rasmussen is doing his own kind of dance in preparation.
The owner of the beer-wine-cider-kombucha bar at 1291 Chimacum Road is about to open for table service on the back deck from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, with local multi-instrumentalists Jack Dwyer and Jonathan Doyle playing from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
“We reached out to Jack, and he delightfully got Jonathan to join him for this week,” Rasmussen said, adding that, back in 2019, the duo became a Keg & I house band.
So Rasmussen is readying his place, which has been closed since June, for his patrons age 21 and older.
He can’t predict, though, how many might show up.
Dwyer and Doyle’s blend of swing, honky-tonk, country, covers and originals can be a big draw, but the Keg & I deck — and the perimeter, set up to accommodate overflow — can fit maybe several dozen socially distanced guests.
Tables and chairs must be set up just so, and masks will be required except when sipping from one’s beverage or nibbling snacks, Rasmussen said.
While being photographed by a reporter, he opted to keep his mask on, though he was outdoors and more than 6 feet away.
“Keith is being really careful. I have a lot of trust in how he approaches it,” said Dwyer, who calls Saturday’s event “physically distanced socializing.”
Dwyer plays many instruments, but for this gig he’ll distill his sound to hollow-body electric jazz guitar and vocals while Doyle concentrates on clarinet.
They did their first in-person performance together after more than a year on March 26 at Finnriver Farm & Cidery, a larger venue than the Keg & I.
“I’m really glad Washington has been careful with all of the rules,” Dwyer said, adding he feels safe playing such outdoor shows.
Then there’s the weather, another factor Rasmussen must dance with.
“We’re doing it only as an outdoor event,” with deck heaters and EZ-Up canopies available, he said.
As for the music, Rasmussen can’t wait to hear what Dwyer and Doyle have cooked up.
Dwyer, who for many months has been streaming several sets of music per week on JackDwyer.com, expected it would feel surreal when he went to his first face-to-face show a week ago.
But “loading the car, driving to the show felt surprisingly normal,” and as he and Doyle began to play, “we kind of just fell right back into it,” he said.
“It was the most normal I’ve felt in the last year.”
Rasmussen plans to reopen the back deck each Saturday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., with wine, cider, beer and non-alcoholic options and limited bar snacks for guests 21 and older.
For now that will be the one day each week the Keg & I has table service, with a couple of hours of live music to be scheduled. Takeout orders will continue from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays only.
“It will be interesting,” Rasmussen said, “to see how all the folks have weathered the storm.”
Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected] news.com.