Basement Days | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Basement Days

The Capitol looks back at its first year

Quietly but steadily, The Capitol has become one of the most varied spots in downtown Bend. Depending on the day of the week or your particular mood, the venue can be used as a sweaty dance club, an intimate dinner spot for two, or a chill bar for a quick drink before heading deeper into the night. Over the last year the quality of the food, atmosphere and location has only improved. Co-owner Sean Day takes a look back at some of the triumphs and difficulties over the last 12 months.

The Source Weekly: What has been one of your bigger challenges this last year?

Sean Day: Adapting to what our customers want us to be and evolving through that. We started off wanting our customers to have a very food-focused idea of what we are but after about five months of entertainment like DJs and live music, a lot of our customers didn't know that we even sold food. So we've made steps to make it more of what our customers want or how they view our business, a night club/lounge/venue/bar, not a "restaurant" with entertainment.

SW: How has booking shows changed for you?

SD: Booking shows has changed based on numbers. We have a massive establishment that needs to be filled often. We've noticed that high energy bands and DJs for dancing work well on the weekends, with a low cover or "ticket" price, all of which goes straight to the performers. On the weekdays, we've noticed that higher ticketed shows or bigger named artists work better, solely because there isn't as much going on around town and people get to see a bigger traveling act up close and personal.

We were concerned for a while that we would lose some of our regular customers on the weekdays because they can't come down and just enjoy The Capitol for what it is, without having to pay a high ticket price for an artist that they particularly don't care for, but those are the things that we have to outweigh when making crucial business decisions. We feel that it's pretty cool that people can come and watch one of their favorite artists in an intimate setting.

SW: What should Bend expect to see over the next year?

SD: Expect bigger bands and more changes with our soon to come new stage layout, sound and lighting to really bring that atmosphere home. In the beginning, it's hard for anyone to adapt to a brand new establishment. Point of sale systems are hard to get used to, knowing where everything is on a busy night, having the knowledge of what they are selling and so on. They have worked harder and harder every month to make The Capitol what it is and that has made everything run smoother.

The Capitol

190 NW Oregon Ave., Bend

Open daily, 4pm-close


Jared Rasic

Film critic and author of food, arts and culture stories for the Source Weekly since 2010.
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