Like most everyone whose paid attention to what’s happening north or east of Lake Washington during the past few months, I was curious to see what Kenmore’s newest venue, Capps Club, was all about.
Having had a chance to wander around the unfinished interior for a previous story, I was interested in a few things.
Namely, since Capps Club is a venue and lounge, I wanted to see how the music experience was, how their drinks were and how the interior and general vibe shaped up compared to other Seattle-area music venues.
While looking for a good show online, the first thing I noticed was the price of tickets, which ran from $25 to $65, except for a Saturday show featuring two local bands for $5.
Having played in a slew of bands since I was a teenager, I decided to support some local music. Plus, a $5 cover sounded about right for a journalist’s pay stub.
Walking in the door, the first thing that struck me was the cloistered atmosphere stemming from the blocked-off windows, a large Gothic-style liquor cabinet backlit by soft blue light and the stone and wooden walls. It had a comfortable vibe, it’s a place I could see myself spending time whether or not a show was happening.
The club is split into two general areas, with a lounge in the front of the venue filled with tables, couches and tub chairs while the back of the club hosts a large stage.
I grabbed a beer for $5.50, which is pretty standard for most venues around Seattle and a seat at one of the couches lining the lounge’s walls while I killed time before the show.
“I feel like I’m in Vegas,” a woman said to a group of her friends as they plopped down in a couch next to me. It even felt like Seattle, but it definitely didn’t feel like I was in an old Italian restaurant next to a gas station along State Route 522, which was a good thing for an entertainment venue.
After a few minutes I went in to the entertainment room and sat at a high table along the back. Before I came, I looked up reviews from the previous weekend and came across a few less than glowing write-ups about long wait times for food and checks, and music from the kitchen radio leaking into the venue.
But I’m happy to report that wasn’t my experience. Within a couple minutes of hanging out, a waiter shuffled over with a menu sporting appetizers ranging from $5 to $13, meals for a few dollars north of $10 and house cocktails ranging from $12 to $15.
I’m not usually one for expensive cocktails, but I figured since I was going to be writing this up, I might as well go with the Capps Reviver, a gin, absinthe, Cointreau and Lillet Blanc cocktail with some lemon juice.
I also ordered some house potato chips for good measure and the waiter was back with both in a few minutes.
The Reviver was essentially straight liquor and heavy on the absinthe, which put me off at first, but once the ice melted down a bit and my common sense kicked in, it got a lot better. If I’m going to pay $13 for a cocktail, straight liquor sounds about right.
But all this is beside the point, because the star of the show is the music.
Capps Club has an absolutely killer sound system, and a sound tech who actually knows how to mix live music.
And while this may seem like a given at a venue, I can assure you that a good sound tech is something in which a lot of venue’s don’t invest.
The first band, ‘Lo There, kicked off their set right at 8:30 p.m. and doused the club in a healthy dose of rock.
The bass drum was chest-pounding, guitars well balanced and sound clearly mixed.
For how great it sounded, there were only a handful of people watching the band, with maybe 20 people in the lounge. I imagine their shows with bigger names probably pull more people, but at such steep ticket prices, I’m not sure how sustainable it is.
Capps Club seems like the perfect place to attract 20-somethings and locals of all ages from the northern and eastern shores of Lake Washington who don’t feel like driving to Seattle to catch a show and a drink every weekend, but if the price is right, Seattle isn’t too far away.
The reverse also holds true, and the Capps Club owners are definitely shooting to become a regionally known establishment and attract world-renowned talent.
Construction across I-90 and a long commute back down south forced me to throw in the towel around 9:30 p.m., but for my money, I’ll likely be back at Capps Club in the near future, but I’ll be sticking to beer and tunes and maybe try a burger.
If you’re in the area, and especially in Bothell or Kenmore, I would recommend you check out Capps Club if you’re looking for something to spice up your weekend routine.