Copper Blues brings elements of community to Desert Ridge venue
By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Joel Bachkoff knew he had a jewel in Copper Blues and Stand Up Live when he opened the venues in CityScape nearly eight years ago. Hoping for the same success, he is unveiling Copper Blues Live in Phoenix’s Desert Ridge Marketplace in early December.
“I’m really excited to be up north,” Bachkoff says. “It feels more like home up north, rather than being in a downtown area. I grew up in the Coral Springs area (of Florida). This reminds me of back home, and I felt it would be a great opportunity.”
Originally scheduled to open in November with David Spade, the 11,000-square-foot CB Live, across from Barnes & Noble Booksellers, is touting its first show as Frank Caliendo on Saturday, December 8. The building space was formerly Rock Bottom Brewery.
CB Live is a restaurant and venue, separated into two sides by a retractable, soundproof sky wall. On one side is the in-the-round restaurant with a 270-degree view of the stage. The kitchen features chef-driven comfort food favorites, with a healthy twist from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. A creative craft cocktail menu is punctuated by draft taps that feature wine, cocktails and beer. The menus were not available at press time.
The music, comedy and multiuse venue is on the other side. The live side can be used as a traditional rowed theater, comedy club or standing concert space. Besides Caliendo, performances are slated by Marlon Wayans (December 9), Broadway Princess Party (December 12), Andrew Dice Clay (December 15), Pretty Things Vaudeville Show (January 26) and Friends! The Musical (April 23 and April 24).
Bachkoff says he and Vestar, Desert Ridge Marketplace’s management, are a perfect match. “We were approached by Vestar and I really loved the people from there,” he says. “When you’re picking locations, one of the most important things is the relationship you’ll have with your landlord, which is Vestar.”
Ryan Handelsman, marketing and business development director for CB Live, says there are similarities between the new room and Copper Blues CityScape. “It’s modeled after the renovations we did at the downtown Copper Blues, in terms of the look and feel,” he says. “It embraces the art of musicians and comedians. It tells a story. It’s going to be embraced by an amazing food and beverage program. It really speaks across every aspect of the venue.”
Copper Blues staff is perfectly happy with CityScape. It was just time to expand the brand. “Downtown Phoenix is a great spot for us,” Handelsman says. “We’ve done very well here. The city itself thrives on the out-of-town traveling business person. All our other properties are very community-driven and family-oriented.”
“We want to be part of the community up north,” Bachkoff adds. “We want to learn about it, embrace it and bring it into the venue. Our stage is the backdrop of the location where it sits.”
The goal is, naturally, to make money with CB Live and Bachkoff’s other properties. However, it goes deeper than that. “There’s nothing better than bringing entertainment and taking people from having one of their worst days – divorce or having job/career problems – to one of their best,” Bachkoff says. “They get to spend two to three hours listening to live music or going to a comedy show. We get to provide that.”
Hearing the audience’s response to comedians or musicians still gives Bachkoff the chills. “I’m not coming into the market to change the world and try to take over,” he says. “We want to be the best at what we do – the best food, the best music, the best live entertainment.”
21001 N. Tatum Boulevard, Phoenix
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