The Roxy,  at 401 Walnut Blvd., will feature live music — including dueling piano performances — stand-up comedy and variety shows.

The Roxy, at 401 Walnut Blvd., will feature live music — including dueling piano performances — stand-up comedy and variety shows.

Rendering provided by The Roxy

Live entertainment venue opening in downtown Rochester this summer

New concept nets city’s last Class C liquor license

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published March 8, 2023

 Rochester Hills’ residents Glenn and Katie Wilhelm plan to open The Roxy in June.

Rochester Hills’ residents Glenn and Katie Wilhelm plan to open The Roxy in June.

Photo provided by The Roxy


ROCHESTER — Live music, dueling pianos and comedy shows are in store for downtown Rochester this summer with the opening of a new live entertainment venue.

Construction is currently underway on The Roxy, a new entertainment venue, cocktail lounge and event space at 401 Walnut Blvd. Rochester Hills residents Glenn and Katie Wilhelm plan to open The Roxy in June.

“We’ve lived in Rochester Hills for about 25 years, and we’ve always thought there was a need in the downtown area for some entertainment,” Glenn Wilhelm said. “There was a void in the market there that we were looking to fill for a long time, so when the former Village Shoe Inn building became available, it was one of the few buildings in downtown Rochester that fit our vision for what we were looking to do.”

Starting this summer, the Roxy will feature live music, comedy and variety shows at least five days a week, with the option to operate additional days based on the entertainment secured.

“We are going to start out with a pretty wide variety of things and then see what fits and what the community is really responding to,” Glenn Wilhelm said. “We are going to be doing some standup comedy. Dueling pianos is going to be a big attraction, and we are going to be doing a lot of live acts and bands. We will try country, some blues, some rock, and we’ll be bringing some national acts into the room there. I think the community is going to be impressed with the quality of entertainment we are going to be able to bring to Rochester.”

Event tickets will be sold online only, with the ability to book dinner reservations at nearby restaurants simultaneously.

To try to encourage patrons to visit local eateries before or after visiting The Roxy, only beer, liquor and wine — with limited high-end finger foods — will be served inside the venue, although the owners said catered food will be available for special events.

“A theater like this draws from a much bigger radius than an individual restaurant, so we feel like we will be drawing people into the community and sharing the wealth a little bit, as far as the dining dollars,” Glenn Wilhelm said. “Katie and I have always thought there’s a lot of great restaurants in downtown Rochester already, but what they were missing was that entertainment piece of the puzzle.”

The Roxy building was built in 1854 and was originally a church. Over the years, there have been multiple additions to the building. Most recently, it was home to The Village Shoe Inn.

“It goes pretty far back that it was a community center, and that is kind of our concept. We want to turn that building back into a gathering place,” Glenn Wilhelm said.

Approximately $1.2 million will go into renovating the historical building.

Plans for the interior include an open dance floor area, a small bar area, and interior seating on both the ground and balcony levels for just over 260 patrons. A high-end cocktail lounge, called The Roxy Lounge, will be constructed in the basement.

All activities, including all entertainment, will occur within the building.

“One of the things that is very important to us is to be a good neighbor to the people that are all around us,” Glenn Wilhelm said. “We are very committed to sound being all-enclosed in the building. We’ve hired a top sound engineering company that is going to be doing acoustic testing and acoustic absorption material inside the building to make sure we don’t have any issues with sound exiting the building.”

The Rochester City Council unanimously granted The Roxy its last remaining quota Class C liquor license.

Rochester City Council member Mark Albrecht said this type of entertainment venue will be a great addition to the downtown, especially since it was identified as a “top priority” when community officials, leaders, businesses and residents came together to imagine a Rochester of the future.

“When I was on the DDA and we had our first downtown visioning session back in 2017,” the top priority “was entertainment — bring entertainment to Rochester. In 2021, there it was again,” he said.

Rochester Mayor Stuart Bikson said the city has been working with the Wilhelms for nearly a year now during the planning process to get the site plan just right.

“They’ve been excellent to work with,” he said, of the couple. “I think the community is going to be very happy with this.”

Glenn Wilhelm has owned and operated Younger’s Irish Tavern in Romeo since May of 2020. He previously served as general manager of the establishment beginning in 2006. The Romeo restaurant has three floors, including an entertainment venue called The Showroom at Younger’s Irish Tavern on the second floor for dueling pianos, tribute shows, private parties and more. Approximately 30%-35% of The Showroom’s audience is from Rochester, Rochester Hills and Oakland Township, according to Wilhelm. His wife, Katie Wilhelm, currently owns and operates Oakland Kitchen & Bar, which opened in March 2021 in Oakland Township.

The Roxy — which will employ approximately 20 full-time and part-time staff members — will be open 7 p.m.-midnight Mondays-Thursdays; 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, with live entertainment ceasing at midnight; and 4-11 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call (248) 453-5285 or visit