Donatos Bar and Basement offers an underground entertainment venue

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Performers and spectators pose for the camera at a concert held at Club D, or Donatos Bar and Basement near the Ohio State campus. Credit: Courtesy of John Rausch

Customers expect to see pizza, subs, and salads on a Donatos menu; entertainment, on the other hand, may be a less intuitive option.

Located at 2084 N. High St., an off-campus Donatos location has been an underground hub for the off-campus social scene for eight years, said Kendall Sorrells, general manager of the restaurant. Although the ground floor functions as a standard dining room, the Donatos Bar and Basement, also known as Club D, mixes dining and entertainment with a full bar and stage – providing space for people to enjoy. explore and appreciate niche interests.

“Our goal is really to always support the local community and to have an event space that gives us the opportunity to do it even further,” said Seth Mendenhall, bar manager and event coordinator for the Donatos campus. “We couldn’t run this place without the community, and that’s the most important thing for us and this place. Many people we come into contact with over time are able to develop their own brands. “

Sorrells, who has worked on campus for nearly eight years, said Club D has grown steadily and organically because of an unwavering commitment to fun.

“Someone always wanted the bar to be better,” Sorrells said. “The small groups went from two to three people to five, six, 10, 50, 60 people. We started to get a more tangible idea of ​​how we could use this space. I guess it was more of a team effort than just an inspiration we had. “

To ensure Donatos reflects the versatility of its supporters, entertainment events vary. Rock, blues, punk and rap are just a few of the musical genres that have graced the little basement stage, Mendenhall said.

Some of the more specialized events include video game nights, date nights, private parties, poetry slams, weekly karaoke nights and chess tournaments, Mendenhall and Sorrells said.

“We have a chess tournament that takes place at the end of every year so we really do anything and everything you can think of,” Sorrells said. “We want to include as many people as possible. Our community, in general, is very diverse, so we’re trying to see if we can take their ideas and give them a platform.

Even though the bar and basement have evolved tremendously over the past decade, Mendenhall said staff are still trying to make events more engaging and accessible. He said local artists are encouraged to contact Donatos and new ideas are always considered and appreciated.

“We always have room to grow,” Mendenhall said. “Getting this place constantly busy and packed and full of fun and events is a huge thing for us. We are happy where we are, but there is always room for growth.

As November begins, the Donatos campus continues to plan concerts and other special occasions, Mendenhall said. According to the restaurant Facebook page, local bands Mouth Movements, Palette Knife and Atomic Revolver will perform in the basement starting at 3 p.m. on November 19. Admission is $ 5 per person.

“We want people to keep laughing and being happy,” Sorrells said. “No matter what you want to do or what kind of show you want to put on, we can make it happen. We’re always open to any kind of basement opportunity.

Additional information on entertainment events offered by Donatos Bar and Basement can be found on the restaurant Facebook page. Students can also look for colorful flyers displayed on campus.


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