Duncan Mitchell is the owner of Chapel Tavern, a popular watering hole, which recently changed locations, moving a couple of blocks north to 1099 S. Virginia St. The grand opening is Saturday, Aug. 18, at 9 p.m.
I felt like we outgrew the old location. Size was kind of limiting what we could do. … I kept coming up with new things that I wanted to do, but we just didn’t have the space to do it. So moving Chapel to a bigger spot gave us more opportunity to do that kind of stuff. And I have plans to do more of a high-end cocktail bar, whiskey bar, so I have more room to do that in the future and keep Chapel as the every man’s bar, where we do beer and cocktails and everything.
Why that location?
Honestly, I called out of curiosity. I was looking at another location and saw the “for lease” sign on the building and called out of curiosity, basically as a comparison to see what was going on, and met with the property owner, and he’s a really nice guy. We got along pretty well, and the price was right. It’s also only two blocks away from the old location. It’s quarter lot with parking, basically the same kind of setup. It’s just bigger.
Tell me about some of renovations.
We basically gutted the entire place. Everything’s new. We poured new concrete floors. We took out two walls and put in post and beam construction to hold the ceiling up. We took out like three ceilings, all kinds of different walls. There was this huge soffit—like an art deco thing—that was over the center bar. We took all that out. We basically gutted the entire place and put it back together. When we put it back together, I tried to use as much reclaimed materials as we could. A lot of stuff came from Lovelock, where I was born and raised. I bought some stuff from some ranchers out there, friends of min, friends of the family. The other stuff, like the bar top was a subfloor that was actually in the building. It’s maple.
You had the soft opening a few weeks ago?
Three weeks this weekend. The eighteenth [of July] was the first invite-only soft opening.
What’s the reaction been?
Great, actually! Everybody seems to love it. It’s definitely a little bit bigger. That’s kind of the biggest thing that people say when they walk in. All our customers were used to our little 800-square foot bar. But everybody loves it. Everybody thinks it’s warm and cozy, but still has the room to move around.
The grand opening is this weekend. Tell me about that.
We’re having Keyser Soze play, along with Cathedral Ghost. The reason we really wanted Keyser to play. Besides being friends with Jammal [Tarkington] and everyone, Keyser actually played the very first show at the original Chapel Tavern, like two weeks after it opened … so I thought it would be cool to repeat history and have Keyser play the first show again.
Is live music going to be more of a focus?
A little bit. I don’t want it to be strictly a venue at all. It’s beer, cocktails, wine—that’s our main focus, creating a place to hang out. But we do have the room and the stage and the PA system. But we’re kind of thinking no more than once a month. … We want to cherry pick what we want, no more than once a month, and have some cool shows. We don’t want to be one of those places that has four shows a week. That’s not our vibe. Cocktails and drinks are still our main focus.
And the regular DJ nights?
We still have Tiger Bunny every Thursday. We have a rotating list of DJs on Friday. And we’ll probably have some more stuff coming up. I’m not really sure. A lot of people, once they see the new place, they’re really interested in wanting to play and wanting to be involved.