Revelstoke is back in the nightclub business after a soft opening of the new Traverse lounge this past weekend.
After a couple months of renovation and a longer wait for the liquor licence transfer, Traverse finally got the go-ahead to open its doors at their new location – the former Outabounds Nightclub on First Street West.
Owner Brady Beruschi and general manager Jay Shoji were overseeing the last details of the renovations on Thursday, saying they’d even open the doors that night if they heard from the liquor authorities in Victoria. In fact, it opened on Friday and was filled to capacity despite the lack of advance notice.
Shoji was the manager at Traverse in the Regent Hotel until about a year ago, then left for an extended working tour of Australia, where he gained inspiration of the drinking culture down under.
Shoji’s worked in Whistler and Banff and wants to bring “a bit more of a cocktail culture” to Revelstoke, including a wider variety of exotic drinks with fresh ingredients.
The decor is a mix of the old and new in a couple of ways. Outabounds had been totally renovated from the former Rock Pit Nightclub just a few years ago and was a pretty good foundation to start with. The backlit forest wall at the front stayed, as did the fireplace, many of the leather sofas and the main bar.
The stage is totally reoriented; it’s where the old VIP room was and is a bit more intimate and accessible from anywhere in the club. The back of the club is now another elevated seating area checkerboarded with black and white leather sofas and chairs. It’s highlighted by a wavy stucco rear wall washed over with alternating coloured lighting.
PHOTO: Owner Brady Beruschi (left) and general manager Jay Shoji take care of the final touches a day before opening last week.
The main bar stays and a new one has been added right next to it to increase volume. Shoji said the focus will be away from wait staff and towards mingling and ordering at the bar.
A series of graphic black and white posters and designs were done by Brady Beruschi’s brother Stephano Beruschi, a Paris-based designer who works with the Gucci Group.
Also new is the house sound system. There are monitors above the dance floor and tucked under the new raised seating. “It’s loud, it’s clear. There’s a lot of bottom end if you need it,” Shoji said.
Shoji plans to host entertainment of all types. Live bands, house and touring DJs, comedy shows, local acts, special nights, private parties. But for now Shoji doesn’t want to get pigeonholed, so he’s keeping an open mind and encourages anyone with ideas to run it past him. “I think there is a lot of really good talent around town,” Shoji said of the possibilities.
Owner Brady Beruschi also ran Traverse and the River City Pub along with Shoji. Business-wise, he thinks there’s room for a new night venue in Revelstoke. “I think it’s going to bring another positive feel to the community,” Beruschi said. “I think there’s a market and I think there’s a demand.”
PHOTO: The back stage area at Traverse has been newly renovated, adding more seating.
For now, Traverse is focusing on the weekend business, looking to open from Thursday to Saturday. Beruschi said the rest of the week will depend on numbers. It’ll likely be seasonal as well; winter will be their busiest season because summertime barbecues and beach parties are tough to compete against.
The key for Traverse is finding the right fit and the right mix for Revelstoke.
An oft-heard complaint against the old Outabounds club was its poor fit with Revelstoke. With the resort stalled and the grip of the great recession tightening, the velvet rope, bouncer and cover-charge routine on a weeknight was a poor fit for the times – hunting too hard for cashed-up oilfield workers willing to overpay for beer instead of catering to a more authentic ski-town experience. It ultimately failed for more complex reasons, but the writing was on the wall with many dead-slow nights.
Shoji said he wants to grow the club and its clientele in an organic way, taking it one step at a time.
“It’s not too classy for Revelstoke,” Shoji said of his plans for the vibe of Traverse.
“I think it’s important to stay fresh,” Beruschi adds. He also noted the old Traverse is closed, meaning a reduction in capacity on peak weekends. He feels the new club will add to the current local offering of pubs and sports bars. “We’ll all complement each other,” he said.