Former Nicoli's Grill & Sports Bar turns music venue in Tualatin
Kent Drangsholt hopes that when customers walk into At the Garages, his 24,000-square-foot music venue and antique mall, they'll be transported to another time — and have fun while doing it.
Drangsholt opened the space, which used to be Nicoli's Grill & Sports Bar, at 17880 S.W. McEwan Road in Tualatin — so close to Lake Oswego city limits, it actually has a Lake Oswego zip code — in January. The music venue hosts concerts and other events every night, while the antique mall has dozens of vendors selling anything from vinyl records to retro clothing and jewelry.
"They're both about history. That's what ties them together," he said. "Music is our history and we remember it by the music we hear and the antiques they find in there — 'My grandma had that when I was growing up.' It reminds them of their childhoods and places they've been or places they wished they had been. It's an awakening of the senses about what your life is about."
Drangsholt spent his career in broadcasting and advertising fields. A musician and collector of antiques, he wanted to pursue these hobbies in the next chapter of his life. So he then opened an antique mall and venue in Beaverton in 2018 before the building was sold, forcing him to look for other options. He said he liked the location of Nicoli's and is excited to be here.
The owner added that the stage works well for anything from a large band to a small trio, and the sound system is especially great due to the work of sound engineer Steve Griffiths. The venue can hold about 175 people inside and another 100 in the courtyard, Drangsholt said.
"We have probably the best sound system in the city for the size of the room it's filling," Drangsholt said. "Ours sounds like studio quality."
The venue hosts concerts regularly as well as cornhole on Mondays and "date night" on Thursdays. Drangsholt said the previous Beaverton location did not close during the pandemic and that they instead had artists hold outdoor concerts where radio transmitters would send music into cars parked in the parking lot. He felt that, with mask mandates lifting soon, people will be itching for a good time.
"When they come in here for the first time and haven't been out in a year, we get to talk to people who are almost in tears about how happy this place makes them. That's what warms our heart," Drangsholt said.
All in all, Drangsholt said he aspires to make At the Garages "Oregon's living room" and hoped its customer service, food, beverages and atmosphere lives up to that moniker.
"We're trying to be the absolute best Portland has ever seen," he said.
For more information about At the Garages, visit its website.
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