New club spices up local nightlife

Bartender Jeri Wills and Voodoo Lounge owner Jon Baglien are providing a new Port Orchard nightlife option. - Charlie Bermant
Bartender Jeri Wills and Voodoo Lounge owner Jon Baglien are providing a new Port Orchard nightlife option.
— image credit: Charlie Bermant

On the list of Port Orchard’s shortcomings, a lack of bars isn’t mentioned prominently.

Still, an establishment that has been open just a week has already drawn the crowd that holds that particular list as a priority.

“We had about 140 people in here last Friday night,” said Jon Baglien, owner of the new Voodoo Lounge in Port Orchard. “I was surprised that the word got out that quickly.”

The new bar, which is housed in the former Shooterz Sports Bar location on Mile Hill, has undergone a transformation from its former incarnation.

The 316-person capacity club has new floors, new carpeting, a spacious dance floor, comfortable booths and a VIP section for important people — or those who want to think they are.

Even with this identity shift, the bar is looking to fill a niche wider than just another place to drink.

“I want to do something completely different for Port Orchard,” Baglien said. “I want to provide a place where people can be entertained, have fun and feel safe.”

Safety is something that operates on several levels. There is the three-person security staff that scrupulously checks IDs and help to keep the peace.

Then there’s the bar staff, which strictly follows the rules against over-serving intoxicated customers.

There is also the motivation to prevent any accident that could have life-threatening consequences. Any person who is the evening’s “designated driver” for a specific group will receive free soft drinks throughout the evening.

Another area of distinction is food service, which some bars only offer out of a legal requirement.

Baglien has resolved to provide a menu that is both tasty and inexpensive. Instead of the standard fried food, he offers a series of tasty entrees that do not exceed $10.

These include a series of robust burgers and hefty salads that include steak or salmon.

The lounge also features a series of special events. It doesn’t stray too far from its most recent life with a Sunday afternoon and Monday Night Football schedule, although the TV screens have been enhanced and replaced.

Tuesdays will feature tequila drinks and a piano bar, while a Wednesday ladies night is to include free makeup artists and charity events.

Thursdays are scheduled as open mikes, while the weekends will host DJ dancing at first and then develop into a live music venue.

The entertainment of South Kitsap residents is not the only service that Baglien provides with the new club, he also provides jobs for 21 people.

Many of them are “stolen” from other local restaurants and bring experience in the service business.

Baglien, 40, has a “real job” as a electrical contractor in Seattle.

He has lived in Port Orchard for nine years, and came to live here in search of a less congested, more family-oriented place in order to raise his kids.

He expects to draw a relatively young crowd on most nights, but will welcome those over 40 should they come in to check out the place.

“We are here to give Port Orchard another entertainment option,” he said. “And we also expect to draw people from other locations around the area.”

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