In Japanese, Kobo means "artist's workspace." So walking into the operation that overtook Oldfield's on High several weeks back, you might expect to find a bare, zen-like studio.

In Japanese, Kobo means "artist's workspace." So walking into the operation that overtook Oldfield's on High several weeks back, you might expect to find a bare, zen-like studio.

Not so.

What you'll discover is a likeable, rough-and-tumble rock bar where a blue-collar, tip-'em-back pub stood for nearly two decades. Kobo kicks off its grand-opening celebration July 4 with nightly bands, drink specials and buzz about its potential to become a hot new venue for local tunes.

"I've been booking and playing around town for about 12 years, actually," said musician and promoter Jacob Wooten, who bought the bar with Evolved Body Art's Nick Wolak. "I intended to step up my game and have my own room, so I could decide what I could do for bands."

Having a hand in the details, Wooten explained, allows him to provide a better experience for bands and fans.

Most of the essentials of the smallish Old North space remain the same: long belly-up bar, small adjacent room with stage and sound booth, dart room in the rear and a miniature pool hall on the north side.

The look, feel and spirit, though, have changed drastically.

TVs and beer trinkets are gone. Replacements include a fresh coat of paint and framed concert posters advertising local bands like Ghost Shirt, Miranda Sound and Phantods.

Sounds are already flowing from the stage during weekly hip-hop, jam and karaoke nights, and weekends are packed with talent from across the city. More is promised.

In addition to more music, fans will enjoy better sound quality and plenty of cheap-ass beer, rock's No. 1 go-to guy.

The bar carries $1.50 Black Label, $2.50 PBR tall boys and good stuff on tap. Pints of Bell's Oberon, Avery India Pale Ale and Tommyknocker Butt Head Bock range from $5 to $7.50.

Grand opening

Independence Day will kick off Kobo's grand-opening celebration. Here's the lineup, which runs from hard rock to hip-hop.

July 4: Jimmy Riggs

July 5: Jahman Brahman

July 6: Solo night with local music stars

July 7: Excess Karaoke

July 8: Envelope, The Compressions, and Dance or Die with DJ Self Help and Barticus

July 9: Illogic featuring Ill Poetic, Ill Atmospherics and Rosehips

July 10: RoeVy, The Receiver, L.E.S. Crew