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TUESDAY, AUGUST 28, 2007
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Is it Maria Bonita
vs. The Brick?

By Danielle Komis Palmer
dpalmer@decaturdaily.com 340-2447

While The Brick was closed for eight months, a new act hit town that stirred Decatur's nightlife from its slumber — Maria Bonita Grill & Cantina.

The restaurant and bar, located one street over from the new Brick on Second Avenue Southeast, began featuring local and non-local musicians Wednesday through Saturday. Some of the crowd that once frequented The Brick soon came to the new venue to check out the place and enjoy live music again.

But now that The Brick is open again, the two bars seem to share a bit of a rivalry, though owners of both businesses say they've benefited from having other bars downtown.

"It's a competitive spirit," said Eric Crampsey, bassist for "Ahead of the Wake." In Decatur, the band plays exclusively at Maria Bonita. However, Crampsey also frequents The Brick, which was the original bar "he grew up with."

Bands tend to play exclusively for either venue rather than switching back and forth between the two. Some longtime friends and family of the bar owners refuse to set foot in the competing bar.

But most people who go out in Decatur say they like that there's more variety now, especially because it's so easy to frequent both places by walking across the street. On any weekend night, it's not uncommon to see groups of people walking from one of the bars to the other in downtown Decatur.

"I think most people just want to go out and have a good time," said Evan Ashby of Decatur. "I've just wandered back and forth. You can see twice as many people and two bands at the same time."

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