For sale: A piece of California's country music history

Garth Brooks performed Thursday at Buck Owens Crystal Palace in Bakersfield as part of his Dive Bar Tour of small venues in the midst of his summer stadium tour. Part of the mission of the Dive Bar Tour is to promote responsible alcohol consumption among country music audiences. Brooks played to about 600 fans, who won tickets through radio station contests, on the same stage where he proposed to his wife, singer Trisha Yearwood, in 2005. Credit: Randy Lewis/Los Angeles Times
Garth Brooks performs at Buck Owens Crystal Palace in Bakersfield as part of his Dive Bar Tour in 2019-21. On that same stage in 2005, he proposed to his wife, country singer Trisha Yearwood. (Randy Lewis / Los Angeles Times)

The famed Buck Owens Crystal Palace, where music legends including Willie Nelson, Dwight Yoakam, Garth Brooks and a young Taylor Swift have played, is up for sale, with the foundation that runs the Bakersfield venue planning to list it for $7 million on Monday.

The nightclub, museum and steakhouse was owned by its namesake Buck Owens, the country music trailblazer who bucked the slick commercial melodies of Nashville for a distinctly West Coast twang. Owens opened the Crystal Palace in 1996, watching it become a premier venue for the biggest names in country music, including himself. Buck and the Buckaroos played there every Friday and Saturday night until his death in 2006.

Jim Shaw, a member of the Buckaroos and a director of the Buck Owens Private Foundation, said that after 28 years of running the famed venue, the Owens family plans to step back and find new owners amid a challenging business climate. The foundation said in a statement that "since Buck’s passing in 2006, we’ve tried to maintain the excellence that he expected, even as it became more and more difficult during these challenging times of increasing food and labor costs."

The venue is not closing and scheduled events will continue as planned, Shaw said.

"It's business as usual for now," Shaw said. "Ideally, someone who wants to keep it exactly as it is will come forward."

Owens' youngest son, Johnny Owens, wrote on Facebook that the family's hope "is that a buyer steps forward with a vision for the future and a reverence" for his father and the Bakersfield Sound.

The Crystal Palace, located on Buck Owens Boulevard, is a major tourism staple for Bakersfield. The 18,000-square-foot venue is next to the city's downtown entrance.

"It's the No. 1 tourist attraction in Bakersfield," Shaw said. "There are people stepping forward and we are waiting to see what happens. I am getting a lot of phone calls. I’m anxious to see what happens."

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.