Smokeless Thirsty Turtle hosts open jam sessions on Wednesday nights

Around the river region there are few venues capable of hosting a full band ion stage for live music. One of them recently underwent a profound change that is literally a breath of fresh air.

As of March 14, Thirsty Turtle, 4884 Main Street in Millbrook, is non-smoking indoors. This also includes electronic cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.

Customers have adapted, said owner James Snider Jr.

“There was a bit of a grunt at the start,” Snider said. “But everyone started to see that it wasn’t as bad as they thought.”

Smoking is always permitted outside on the front patio.

“We also have a back patio that overlooks the pond that we allow smokers on,” Snider said.

Alex Walker, who hosts Wednesday night jam sessions at the Thirsty Turtle, said he quit smoking a few months ago. Walker said he played at a few other smoke-free venues like Sinclair’s East, Ric & Moes, and Hat Trick Sports Bar & Grille in Montgomery.

“The most important thing for me is to come home and not smell like cigarettes,” Walker said. “I support it wholeheartedly. If you smoke, you can go out.”

In addition to evening drink specials, Schneider said they have food available on select nights. Taco Tuesdays are a thing there.

“We’re working on bringing a limited menu back here soon,” Snider said. “It’s in the plans.”

In addition to billiards and darts, Thirsty Turtle is known for hosting a variety of local music acts.

“Our stage will accommodate up to a five-piece band. Maybe more, if they squeeze in,” Snider said.

Follow the turtle online at and on Facebook @thethirstyturtle.

Wednesday night jammin on the pond

Alex Walker

Wednesdays starting at 7 p.m., Walker works with the Montgomery Area Musicians Association for Jammin’ on the Pond, regular open genre jam sessions at the Turtle.

“I have a group of musician friends and we get together,” Walker said. “For a while it was just other professionals I brought in. I barely got to play with them. As musicians, we barely got to play with each other because we’re always reserved.”

Then Walker also began to invite talented amateur musicians.

“It’s been a good time,” Walker said. “Make people want to play with a great band behind you.”

Walker said the goal of the jam was to do something similar to what Commerce BeerWorks has done in the past with the Montgomery Area Musicians Association, having a house band to support individual artists who would like to participate.

“It seems like a good opportunity for everyone involved,” Walker said.

So far, the Wednesday night jam has drawn local artists like Beth Cooper, Brandon Jordan, Boyd Blackmon and more.

“It’s just a great time playing music there,” Walker said. “I take requests if I don’t have guest musicians. We’re having a great time.”

Jams are supposed to last until 9:30 p.m., but they can last longer. Walker said he recently played a til 2 a.m.

“If you’ve never been to the turtle, we welcome you,” Snider said. “We want you to come and experience what turtle is all about and the great live entertainment we have in this area.”

Contact Montgomery Advertiser reporter Shannon Heupel at [email protected]