Jazz cafe owner looks to expand audience

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com De Lighthouse Jazz Cafe owner Tim Topps said he's targeting a more diverse audience with a mix of blues, jazz and gospel music, as well as having karaoke.

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com
De Lighthouse Jazz Cafe owner Tim Topps said he’s targeting a more diverse audience with a mix of blues, jazz and gospel music, as well as having karaoke.

By Dennis Seid

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Tim Topps refuses to give up.

The entrepreneur has twice before tried to combine music and food in a family-friendly environment, but the businesses never quite clicked.

This time, however, Topps is convinced his De Lighthouse Jazz Cafe has staying power.

It’s located at 701 S. Gloster St. in Tupelo, in the building that also houses Subway and Dollar General.

And don’t let the name fool you – there’s more than jazz playing.

“We’ve been here about five months, and my intent was to open an upscale jazz club oriented toward an older audience, 25 and older,” Topps said.

But to add some diversity, there’s karaoke on Thursdays; Southern soul, jazz and blues on Fridays; Mexican and Hispanic music on Saturdays; and a live gospel “jam” on Sundays.

Admittedly, it’s an eclectic mix, but Topps wants a wide range of customers.

“This isn’t a black thing or a white thing, it’s for everybody in the community,” he said.

And the food is eclectic as well, including Southern fare, fish, Italian beef and hot wings.

De Lighthouse opens at 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

Happy hour is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., with drinks – beer and light wine – at half-price, along with 50 cent wings.

Topps renovated the interior of the building, adding walls, a stage, a runway, a TV room and other amenities. He also built a dance floor.

“I’d like to add more live music, including a house band eventually,” he said.

As for his previous attempts with De Lighthouse, Topps said he learned from those experiences to make this one work.

“It’s more diversified, it’s a better location, it’s bigger. … you can’t find anything like it in town,” he said. “I’m not a quitter. What I want people to know is that there are failures that come along, but you have to pick right back up and try harder.”

For more information about De Lighthouse Jazz Cafe, call Topps at (662) 871-7977.

dennis.seid@journalinc.com