Randy Paragary would love to see Neil Young performing at his new nightclub, Assembly. Paragary's longtime business partner and co-owner of the venture, Kurt Spataro, dreams about Paul McCartney. More realistically, Spataro thinks Sacramento-based alternative singer-songwriter Sea of Bees would be a good fit.
As co-owners of the new nightclub at 10th and K streets in the space that formerly housed the Cosmopolitan Cabaret, they want bands that their music-fan selves would like to see.
"I guess I look to the classic places in San Francisco like the Fillmore, the Warfield, Bimbo's," Spataro said, sitting sitting in the Cafe Bernardo next door. "Places where you always know there's always going to be a great show even if you don't necessarily know the artist."
As businessmen they're interested in tapping some of the entertainment-seeking traffic cruising the active K Street block, filling Dive Bar, Pizza Rock and Social Nightclub, the glitzy dance club above Assembly.
Paragary and Spataro have invested more than $300,000 in remodeling the 9,000-square-foot interior of Assembly, which will seat 240 and accommodate 500 general-admission customers. (The floor can be arranged for cabaret-style table seating or general admission standing space). The room that previously had no bar (drinks were somewhat unreliably relayed from next door) has a new bar with four bartender stations slicing the room in half. Above are nine booths with table service on two levels; four booths seating four people, three booths seating six people, and two booths seating eight people.
For Assembly's opening this weekend, they've brought in Pop Fiction (one of Northern California's "top party cover wedding dance bands") and Super Diamond (a Neil Diamond tribute band).
"We have to start somewhere," Paragary said. "They're local, and they're available. But as time goes on, if we have the opportunity to have a national touring act on a Saturday night, we're certainly going with them."
Also playing early shows is "B Street: Live!," the sketch comedy ensemble from B Street Theatre, which will be a permanent fixture at club three nights a week.
The Paragary Restaurant Group (owned by Randy and Stacy Paragary and Spataro) began operating the venue in December, taking it over from California Musical Theatre. CMT opened the then-200-seat theater in 2008, hoping to have small-cast, cutesy musical comedies such as "Nunsense" and "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" for long runs. But the economy took a nose dive and CMT's mature audience base balked at the urban setting. The area has attracted a younger party crowd, and businesses in the area are thriving enough that Paragary thought a different type of performance could work.
"The demographic we're appealing to will depend on the act," Paragary said.
"There'll be many times where we'll have an early show and a late show, and they'll be two different types of acts on the same night," he said.
The veteran restaurateur sees a model in San Francisco's Yoshi's, which started as a jazz-specific club attached to a high-end Japanese restaurant and has adopted a broad entertainment philosophy that encapsulates hip-hop, singer-songwriters and old-school funk, plus the occasional jazz set.
Scott Brill-Lehn, owner of SBL Entertainment, will buy talent and produce events for the club. He said the space fills a vacant niche in Sacramento.
"It's the type of venue in terms of its size that Sacramento doesn't have until now," Brill-Lehn said. "The importance of the capacity part is we can get acts into Sacramento that we wouldn't normally be able to because they're a little too big for a venue like, say, Harlow's, but they're a little too small for a venue like, say, Ace of Spades or the Crest Theatre."
Brill-Lehn's varied upcoming calendar includes roots-rocker Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, progressive female indie rapper K. Flay, South African rockers the Parlotones, and neo-soul singer N'dambi.
"I think the idea is to be broad," Brill-Lehn said. "The idea is to be able to find something for all age groups and all demographics to enjoy."
A major part of the room's broad mix will be "B Street: Live!" which will initially perform Thursdays through Saturdays. The troupe's 75-minute, single-set shows will start at 7 p.m. and feature a rotating cast of five or six B Street actors performing original comedy sketches and some improv games using audience involvement.
B Street's producing artistic director Buck Busfield will oversee the project with longtime B Street artistic associate Dave Pierini as the group's "player manager."
The group will create and rotate material so that every third week there will be a totally different show.
"The show just has to be funny," Pierini said. "If a piece is really great, we'll bring it back. This is its own art form. These are not small plays. There are character-driven sketches, and there are high-concept-driven sketches. But we'll just keep generating stuff, keeping what works."
Paragary said he expects audience and artist interest will gradually build.
"We haven't established our reputation yet – the agencies and the promoters don't know anything about our theater, the quality of our sound system, our lighting, our backstage amenities, the hospitality that we provide for the bands," he said.
"It'll take a while for us to be seven nights a week, but that is our goal, eventually."
B STREET: LIVE!
What: Sketch and improv comedy show featuring members of the B Street Theatre company.
When: 7-8:15 p.m. Thursdays- Saturdays.
Where: Assembly, 1000 K St., Sacramento
ASSEMBLY GRAND OPENING
What: Pop Fiction
When: 10 p.m. today
Information: (916) 341-0221 or www.ticketfly.com
What: Super Diamond (Neil Diamond tribute band)
When: 10 p.m. Saturday
Tickets: $15 advance, $17 day of show
Information: (916) 341-0221 or www.ticketfly.com
Call The Bee's Call The Bee's Marcus Crowder, (916) 321-1120. Follow him on Twitter @marcuscrowder.