The Tangled Wood: A Gathering Beyond the Ghost of Governors - The Echo

“Music Venues in the Quad Cities” is a 12 part series providing a comprehensive overview of live music venues in the Quad Cities area, with a specific focus on venues whose audience capacity is below 500. The series aims to highlight the vibrant music scene in the Quad Cities and shed light on the smaller, more intimate venues that may often be overlooked.

The series exclusively focuses on dedicated live music venues and excludes bars that occasionally host live performances. By narrowing the scope to these venues, the series provides a detailed exploration of the unique experiences and opportunities they offer to both local and touring musicians.

By highlighting venues with an audience capacity below 500, the series aims to showcase the intimate and personal experiences that these venues provide. The series acknowledges that larger venues, and bars often dominate the music scene conversation with either touring musicians or cover bands and seeks to shed light on the charm and character of the Quad Cities’ smaller music venues.


Photographed & Written by: Matthew Terry

I have memories from childhood of my father explaining to me all the different spaces now occupied by Bettendorf businesses that were nothing but fields and farmland when he was my age. While this caused a teenage version of myself to try understanding how the stretch of cul-de-sacs behind my grandparents’ home was once the dividing line between the new additions and the agricultural land this state is mostly associated with. I have vivid memories of sitting in the kitchen of that home looking out on the open land now cut to the size of suburban backyards.

These stories created a clear division between my father’s generation and my own, as we shared the same view of an altered landscape in a room that was always about sharing stories and company all the same. I didn’t understand missing what was back then the way I do now, and as I watch my hometown expand to less recognizable angles I find myself relating greatly to the way they reminisced.

I always felt like these discussions defined a generational division, and now, 2 decades removed from them, I find myself doing much the same.


Tangledwood is a rather recent addition to the Bettendorf landscape, and when I was in high school this was essentially empty land. Fields, and what qualified as open space to a teenager is easy to find around here, and thus easy to ignore, however, a crew of slightly older kids lived in an old farmhouse that sat where the new condos now reside, across the aptly named Tanglewood Road, from Tanglewood’s parking lot and impressive outdoor stage, so I have some pretty vivid memories in this area. This includes even earlier memories as a kid where this Tanglewood road was regularly traveled with my parents during December to take in the extravagant Christmas light show that illuminated a house that sat along the bend of the road just past where Tangledwood now resides.

Beyond these brief moments, this road and area of the city never seemed busy or occupied by anything more than dilapidated buildings and used vehicles looking for new owners. However drive down Devils Glen on any weekend, especially during the summer months, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find any open parking in their lot.

This month’s feature is a slight shift, as for many The Tangled Wood is a restaurant, a self-defined gastropub, but before the doors were even opened to the public in January of 2019, the concept for the space was envisioned to be far more than merely a restaurant in the traditional sense. While The Tangled Wood itself is new, it rose from the ashes of the long-time Bettendorf business known as Governor’s Pub, a favorite to many that sat on the corner of Middle Rd and Devils Glen for the entirety of my childhood and young adult life. However you will not get the same experience in this expansive “new” spot.

In addition to the more traditional dining and bar space, The Tangled Wood includes an 8,000-square-foot area they like to describe as a kid-friendly adult playground. This features bocce ball and bags, as well as fire pits and most importantly a large “lawn” ready for you to pull up a chair to take in a concert on their outdoor covered stage.

This 600 sq ft stage has accommodated bands in excess of 11 musicians, and they have a full late spring-summer schedule featuring many of your favorite local acts. There are 10-20AMP outlets on the stage, and The Tangled Wood is set up with the capabilities to have your sound go through the giant hanging speakers located on the amphitheater in addition to all of the speakers inside the restaurant itself. They will also occasionally have performances from smaller acts inside the bar or outside under the overhang when the fickle midwestern weather through this time of year fails to comply with outdoor plans.


I’m sure many people have memories of enjoying lunch and libations on the old Governors’ patio years ago, but this new space feels a bit more connected to nature. Though its front faces one of Bettendorf’s busiest roads you can put your toes in the grass while you enjoy the entertainment expanding from their stage to your moving feet, which I must say is a massive upgrade from a patio resting in the middle of a grocery store parking lot. This is part of the allure of The Tangled Wood, and knowing that it was the goal to create a space where people can gather, something more than a quick bite and run, I’d say they have clearly accomplished that in a rather short stretch of time.

A quick look at their summer schedule, which kicked off with the first show of the season on May 3rd, really proves that. There is a wide variety of music to appease nearly everyone at this family-friendly location, from tributes to classic artists like Without U2 and Electric Shock The AC/DC Show, to familiar local faces like Radio Flyer Pilots, Tim Stop, Dirt Road Rockers, For Those About to Yacht, and more…and this is only what is lined up for the month of June. Check out their website or Facebook for the full schedule of summer events, and make sure you don’t miss some of your favorite local acts, because music just feels better when it can be enjoyed outdoors.



Venue Name: The Tangled Wood


Venue Address: 3636 Tanglewood Rd. Bettendorf, IA

Phone: (563) 949-1000


Instagram: @thetangledwood



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