Mongolians found a capital outside of Ulan Bator, and it's in Capitol Club, where watching them down tons of vodka and exhibiting their version of hip-hop still surprises Chester Kiercul, the owner of this 22-year-old Portage Park establishment. On most nights though, you’ll find the multi-functioning nightclub with a pool table catering to a predominantly Polish clientele ranging from ages 21 to 60 years old.
With Hops and Barley sporting a gold medal for the strip's hippest spot, Kiercul thought fast in hopes of saving the business. As Poland joined the European Union, fewer Poles make the leap across the big pond, he says, and neighborhood Poles left the area in large numbers. He also blames the city smoking ban on loss of business. However, a newly modeled sports lounge endowed with hardwood floors, French doors, a projector screen, wi-fi and a marble-top bar aims at knocking out the competition, as do some of the Polish boxers who occasionally drop in.
The remainder of the space remains roomy and versatile with two full-service bars, plenty of seating, a recreational area and a dance floor under the glimmer of a disco ball. Black light illuminates dolphins poking their bottled noses from bubbly coves posted on the walls. And here, you really do dance with the stars; pink and green stars stud the carpet.
The convenient location (just a 10-minute walk from the Montrose Blue Line stop), free parking, exceptional sound system and updated lighting attracted music director Marcelino Ramos, whose promotional hands lead to the successes of both Green Dolphin Street and Mambo Cafe. He's hoping Capitol's character will attract newer crowds with spicy themes like Latin and lesbian nights, soon to come. Enjoy $3 Okocim beers on Thursdays alongside pizza ($8.50).
Centerstage Reviewer: David-Anthony Gonzalez