Where Capone’s Fits In Downtown

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The new Redding bar Capone’s has been in business about three weeks and co-owner Jayson Burris says the speakeasy-style lounge has exceeded the business plan so far.

Located across from the Cascade Theatre at 1724 Market St., Capone’s has been drastically transformed from its blue-collar existence as the Clover Club.

The wall dividing the former Rene Joule Patisserie and the Clover is gone. The new opposing wall is a sea of red velvet. The bar deck is cool granite with nice wooden accents. It’s a nod to the roaring ’20s. The bathroom doors read “Gangsters” and “Doll Faces.”

It’s not a bad pairing with the art deco Cascade Theatre, which was originally built in the 1930s. Certainly the owners are hoping to catch patrons prior to and after Cascade shows.

When I stopped in for a drink following Monday’s Merle Haggard show, the place had a real solid crowd filling just about every table. The bar has a rich feel to it, and I was digging the soundtrack playing the Grateful Dead, Dylan and a few other of my favorite artists.

Burris has mentioned that Capone’s has attracted a variety of ages: a bit of an older crowd early, giving way to a mostly under-35 crowd later. So far it seems like the mission is to be a classy, laid-back kind of hang.

Burris mentioned that Capone’s may soon start serving appetizers from both the nearby Market St. Steakhouse and the Vintage Wine Bar. Market St. Steakhouse is the other venture by Burris and Kenny Breedlove. It’s really nice if they’re working with the Vintage.

There are only so many dollars that can be spread between drinking establishments downtown, and there’s a growing number of them. Capone’s has an excellent location and a great feel, so if it treats its patrons right, that’s three pistons of success firing at the same time.

The other pistons are probably a little more ambiguous. I’d describe them as the niche and feel/vibe of a place.

People are naturally attracted to good energy and it’s essential to have it around when you’re serving customers. Bad energy or arrogance wears people out in a hurry. Who knows how the vibe will play out at Capone’s.

I’ve seen other establishments in the North State bite the pavement hard after failing to realize they’re in the customer service business. Outside of belligerent drunks, you treat everyone with a pretty high degree of respect. It’s an honor that they came into your place. And being laid-back, relaxed and cool is a huge bonus.

Here are a few people who get that really well in my opinion: Mike Woodrum, the manager and bartender at Jack’s Grill; Janis Logan and Alex Gaxiola at the Vintage Wine Bar; Alan and Jana Leard at Vintner’s Cellar; Tom Poulson at the Post Office Saloon. There are others, but those are a few off the top of my head.

Anyway, as for niche, let’s quickly review the other downtown drinking establishments to see where Capone’s might fit in:

Vintage Wine Bar and Restaurant: Beautiful atmosphere with changing art shows. Consistent live music venue. Excellent dinners, wines and beers. Kind of writing the book on class right now.

Market St. Steakhouse: Gorgeous bar that works in a similar fashion to Jack’s. The place really has a good feel to it and the restaurant has a strong following.

Vintner’s Cellar: Big window out front of this classy wine bar that also does live music, art shows and has an excellent laid-back vibe. Good chunk of its business comes from customers who make their own wine on site.

Post Office Saloon: The “Cheers” of Redding. The oldest live music pub in town (Wednesdays and weekends). The bar has a strong local following and serves good burgers and other pub food.

Johnny’s Cathouse: They’re flying the Rebel flag high and the gals wear Coyote Ugly short shorts. A huge bar with live music on the weekends. Pool tables upstairs. Lots of flatscreens. You ready to party and get your drink on?

Jack’s Grill: The bar is typically a pause point before dinner (but not always). This is an old school Redding place written up in the New York Times. Woodrum is a made guy (if you want to put it in mob terms).

The Squire Room: The clientele has gone through some evolutions, but the place has long been synonymous with its legendary bartender, Frank Nazarirod. It’s typically a late-night stop and the dimly lit cave can sometimes be wild. The incredibly loud jukebox (with far too many options) has killed me lately.

Maritime Seafood and Grill: High-end restaurant has a classy bar. Washed in white. The place was popping last time I was there to see the Tony Armsdon jazz trio. Go say hello to the sweet owner Unni Song.

The Downtown Eatery: Serves dinner, beer and wine. Heavy live music scene with a variety of bands playing many nights a week. Often there are multiple-band nights. It’s a lot of music, but are the patrons buying enough food and beer to keep the place afloat?

Club 501: Traditionally a gay bar where plenty of straights frequent as well. A fun dance-party spot late at night. Jukebox runs the dance party. Let your freak flag fly. Don’t trip out.

Carnegies: Mostly an excellent lunch spot, but a pub three nights a week that used to rule Wednesday nights (it’s also open Thursday-Friday nights). It sometimes still rules Wednesdays.

Tapas Downtown: Full bar to complement the restaurant. Good drop-in bar. Newly expanded special events room. Co-owner Brad Tillson is a fun, knowledgeable guy who fits into the above category of understanding good customer service.

Bombays : I need help here, I haven’t been in in a long time. I know they occasionally still do live music.

••••••••••••••

Anyway, those are some of my thoughts. Did I forget anyplace? (I was concentrating on downtown, but I’m not sure what’s going on at the place that used to be Zippers.) I’d love to hear your opinions. Where do you like to go? Please, weigh in.

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is a journalist who focuses on arts, entertainment, music and the outdoors. He is a songwriter and leader of the Jim Dyar Band. He lives in Redding and can be reached at jimd.anewscafe@gmail.com
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18 Responses

  1. Avatar Justin Case says:

    I never knew the Cascade Theater "was originally built in the 1030s." Those indigenous tribes really knew how to do Art Deco! Seriously, thanks for the run-down, Jim.

  2. Avatar L. Paige Allen says:

    Thanks for the info Jim – forgetting Lulu's – most of the bartenders are great – and always richie…

    I miss Art's, Bogie's, The Schooner, Maxwell's, the old Tropics and now the Clover Club… I want the sign – but that's not to say that i haven't had a similar idea for years.

    Happy New Year and Good Luck to all!

    • Avatar Bettie Seiler says:

      Would love to hear if the owner of Maxwell's is cooking somewhere in the county.

      His Spaghettini Caruso was "to die for". His talent for cooking was outstanding.

      • Doni Greenberg Doni Greenberg says:

        Jim, thanks for this article. I keep meaning to try Capone's, and now have an idea of what I'll find.

        Bettie, regarding Maxwell's, unless I'm mistaken Bruce Brown was its owner/extraordinary chef. He passed away a few years ago. I heard that his memorial service inside Pio Loco featured a gathering of the North State's culinary who's-who. Brown was a fine chef. I miss Maxwell's (and River City Bar and Grill, and Humble Pie, and so many bygone Redding restaurants), too.

    • Avatar Jim Dyar says:

      I knew I was forgetting someone — Lulu's — sort of the French Quarter of Redding's bars. The lounge has a real strong following. There's blues night on Thursday, and an oddly popular Sunday day crowd. It's a supremely original space.

  3. Avatar Kirsten says:

    Congratulations to Capone's…………. but PLEASE: leave the old sign! It's part of Redding's history!

  4. Avatar Karen C says:

    Jim, I think I saw you at Five Thais on Tuesday. You were with two other men. We were the couple sitting behind you. I wanted to ask if it was really Jim D but did not want to disturb you and your guests. If it was you, I did want to tell you how much I enjoy your writings in this site. Thanks for keeping all of us informed.

    By the way, how do you like Five Thais? I had a fabulas bowl of soup there along with the Chicken Satay. Both fabulous!

    • Avatar Jim Dyar says:

      It was me and thanks for your words. I enjoyed Five Thais. I've long been a fan of its sister restaurant, Racha Noodle. Did you see me spill ice water all over myself? Pretty graceful move.

  5. Avatar Paula H says:

    I was wondering if anybody knew what was going on with Big Wheels. Shingletown is in serious need of a GOOD bar!

  6. Avatar Mike says:

    what about the new TVs at Squire?
    One above the register is so bright it blinds you.
    He just bought a 50 inch for backroom.

    First Hard Rock Juke Box, now Sports TV.

    So much for our quiet lil cave.

  7. Avatar Doug Mudford says:

    Jim

    Good article on Capone's and excellent summary of downtown establishments. Thanks

    Doug

  8. Avatar Judy says:

    Dropped by Capone's last night and found it to be very nice. We were there just before the show at the Cascade began so it was quite busy when we got there, but became less so by 7:30. As members of the "older crowd" we liked the atmosphere, found the service to be excellent, and look forward to going back. They have some great seating for small and large groups away from the bar as well. A nice addition to downtown.

  9. Avatar Karen C says:

    Jim, no I did not see you spill ice warter all over yourself, but before you came in, a young girl with her young man did the same thing. Water everywhere. Must be something in the ice!

  10. Avatar james says:

    I too enjoyed the atmosphere at Capones, and what a great reminder of all the places we have downtown. It seems the main place I have been hangin on Fridays has been at home, nothing like a little family and friends time and home, oh and come by anytime you never have to worry about the customer service here!

    See ya soon!

  11. Avatar Adrienne jacoby says:

    Yea for your article about downtown eating and watering holes. Yup, I miss River City Bar and Grill, too. And YEA for Capones, too. I have frequently come out of the Cascade wishing there was an atmosphere bar close by. Vintage is a great addition, but it's nice to have more than one. I really do believe an upgrade at the Clover Club site will be a GREAT plus in the overall ambience of "the theatah district" downtown.

  12. Avatar Rocky Slaughter says:

    Here's my review of Capone's on Yelp in case anyone is curious… I'm not traditionally negative but I didn't have that great of an experience there…
    http://www.yelp.com/biz/capones-redding#hrid:p8RK

  13. Avatar Melissa says:

    Honestly, I will never walk into one of Kenny's establishments again. I went to meet some friends at Capone's after the Superbowl at about 9:45 pm. I forgot my wallet at home and went inside to tell my friends I was going back to get it, when the owner Kenny walked up from behind the bar and proceeded to bark at me that I could order one drink and to drink it fast and then I had to leave. Apparently they were having a private party (although I must say the place was pretty empty), which I can understand, but if so, please post this outside your business, or politely inform me of this, and I will gladly refrain from giving you my patronage or money. The bartender had already served my friends some drinks so I was waiting for them to finish, but they must have taken too long to drink them, because Kenny seemed to get more irate by the second, until he basically yelled for us all to get out. Seriously, there is never an excuse to be unprofessional when you work in the service sector. Wish I could review the atmosphere, but I didn't have time to see it considering the complete lack of customer service, manners and business sense.