Tim Rogers will see his concept come to life this May, when he and his business partners—Judd Stachoski and Joel Williams—open The Capitol, a 1920s styled jazz bar served with modern elements.
The idea had been in the works for three years, flowing from Stachoski’s old fashioned cocktail experiments at the Lancaster, said Stachoski, who also owns that establishment with Rogers and Williams.
“I’m a big fan of that style. We’ve seen a big surge of interest in things like that.”
After establishing a menu of old fashioned cocktails, an old fashioned bar was a must, Rogers said.
“Once you get into that era of the ‘20s and ‘30s, it was just logical to make it into a jazz bar.”
Currently decked with drywall, there isn’t much to see inside The Capitol, located on Hamilton Street downtown. But once it’s finished, expect deep colours, blacks, golden chandeliers, and a taboo, prohibition vibe without the kitsch.
There will also be tapas, salads and small fusion styled plates served from lunch to dinner.
Distinct from downtown Regina’s classic pubs, The Capitol is a welcomed asset to the evolving area, said Leasa Gibbons, Regina Downtown Business Improvement District manager of marketing and communications.
According to Gibbons, downtown—once only known for Alfredo’s and the Assiniboine Club in the ‘80s—has become increasingly vibrant, particularly the restaurant scene.
“People are really attracted to downtown and are starting or moving their businesses here," she said.
“I’d say we have the best restaurants in the city. I’m not saying restaurants outside downtown are bad, but you know you can come here and find great choices for food.”
Attractiveness to downtown stems from the city’s newly found urban mind-set, as younger people have moved into the neighbourhood, Gibbons said. “That feeds into a more attractive nightlife, which attracts restaurants.”
As a result, businesses like The Capitol are capitalizing on that.
Years ago, Rogers wouldn’t have considered downtown as an option to open a business. It was too risky.
“Things are happening here now,” he said. “It’s a place we want to be.”
There’s still a risk, Rogers conceded. “But, we’re confident.”
The Capitol, too, will host jazz musicians and artists, melding the music to the bar’s theme.
“We want the atmosphere to really gel,” Stachoski said. “We really want to showcase that we have a really great spot for musicians to come.”
Regina jazz pianist Jon Neher hopes The Capitol lives up to that.
In the past, he has been told to turn down his music while playing at other restaurants.
That’s a little off-putting, he said. “The point of playing is to be heard.”
But unlike other restaurants, The Capitol is marketed as a jazz bar.
“That’s very neat,” Neher said. “I hope they create an environment that’s co-habitable, where the people let the musicians play louder and where the musicians won’t mind them eating and talking.
“I would love to play at The Capitol and establish a great downtown jazz scene. But that’s here to see.”
As for Stachoski’s aspirations, he hopes The Capitol becomes a “you-got-to-try-this” spot, enhancing downtown’s growing restaurant scene.
“It’s going to be pretty exciting.”