Main Street venue sets sights on luring national music acts
For nearly a decade, Chris Mautz and business partner Darin Piccilo, who own The State Room music venue in Salt Lake City, have been intrigued by the possibility of getting involved in the Park City music scene. But the right opportunity had never come along.
Until this year, when it did. The pair has partnered with locals Craig Eddins and Scott Thomson to open a Main Street venue, called O.P. Rockwell, that they say will attract a bevy of eclectic national musical acts.
"We’ve always thought that Park City would be a space that we wanted to be in," Mautz said. "We ski a lot, and we love being up here. We always felt like the music scene in Park City was pretty amazing but also had a hole in the 300- to 400-capacity setting for national touring acts.
"We think we’re going to complement (the local music scene). We want to be a part of a library of options for people to come out and make amazing musical memories and shared experiences."
Previously home to The Star Bar and most recently the Epic nightclub, the space, at 268 Main Street, has been completely renovated. Eddins described it as a "complete facelift," adding that the goal was to create an atmosphere that fits in with Park City. Exposed rock lines the walls, and new furniture and a refinished bar give the venue an upscale feel.
Mautz said people who have witnessed the transformation no longer recognize the venue.
"People come in here and the response is, ‘What happened?’" he said. "’What did you do? This isn’t the same spot.’ I think the local community feels like this space fits in (with Park City). We really want to embrace that."
While the setting may be comparable to that of top-flight intimate music venues from around the country, Mautz admits it wouldn’t mean much if it didn’t attract musicians people wanted to see. But he doesn’t anticipate that being a problem.
"We’re really just getting into that cycle of booking shows," he said. "The response so far from our industry has been tremendous."
Acts already booked include the Fox Street Allstars (Dec. 29), The Mother Hips (Jan. 9) and Gregory Alan Isakov (Feb. 28), among others. Mautz said Park City’s national prominence as a resort town helps give it the appeal to draw national touring acts.
"I think Park City as a tourist destination and a rising community that’s building and growing is certainly is part of it," he said. "Now you have a great, intimate music setting that has world-class sound, a really nice lighting system and feels great on stage for performers. It’s a combination of those factors."
Park City’s proximity to Salt Lake City also makes it attractive. Musicians can play The State Room in Salt Lake one night and O.P. Rockwell in Park City the next — or vice versa — offering them the rare luxury of not having to travel between shows.
"They get to stay in the same hotel and drive 30 minutes away," Mautz said.
Eddins envisions the venue also bringing in customers from Salt Lake, who may also visit other shops on Main Street and may even stay overnight.
The main focus, though, is on locals. The primary goal is to entertain Parkites throughout the year.
"Bands are touring all the time," Eddins said "I want to bring music up here for the true locals and give them something to do when this town shuts down. When all the tourists leave and it’s just us locals, we still need something to do. We still need some entertainment."
11 Hauz, which opened last summer, serves traditional Jamaican food such as jerk chicken and shrimp, beef patties and fried plantains.