Maryland native Jordan Cappolla is the general manager of the lounge and dance club, Kabin, open in Dupont Circle since late last June. In addition to his GM duties, Cappolla can also be found monitoring the line at the door as well as helping with hosting and service at the club's 14 VIP tables. Eater caught up with Cappolla on a Sunday afternoon this month, a day after the club's busiest night of the week.
Did you have a late night?
It's always a late night. If it's an early night, it's not a good night. I was fortunate to leave at 6 a.m . When you're coming home and you see the joggers out, it's surreal.
How long have you been Kabin?
Kabin opened at the tail end of June and I've been at the wheel ever since. I was recruited about five months prior to that to help with construction.
I've was told you do a lot of VIP hosting at Kabin. Can you tell me about that?
Yeah, we do all types of hosting at KABIN. We get a great deal of athletes and celebrities that come in. Mainly, sports. We get a lot of Redskins and players from other teams coming in to play the home teams.
Do you have regular VIP clients at Kabin?
We have a great deal of regulars that book tables months in advance. The vibe is strongest on Fridays and Saturdays when we're sold out 99% of the time. We're fortunate to have a lot of clients that request the same table up to four weeks in advance. The usually prepay and, while there aren't many outrageous requests, they like fine champagne and a lot of liquor.
How often do they come in?
In the last few months, especially throughout the holidays, we had groups of people that were coming in every Friday and every Saturday. We have 14 tables and some of them really stand out. They overlook the dance floor. Some are near the DJ booth. Some are by the door. Some are by the corner so it's easier to talk to one another.
You said you get a lot of athletes at Kabin. Are there any other big for D.C. "celebrities" that come to the club?
Yeah, D.C. is home to a great number of large businesses, so we get a lot of CEOs with their families. A couple of weeks ago we had an enormous post-award banquet for a Fortune 500 company that's only 20 minutes out of the city. They basically just took over the whole club. It was amazing, 50-80 people in gowns and tuxes. It was absolutely insane. Probably one of the best night I've seen.
How did you take care of your VIP clients? What are some of the packages you can offer at Kabin?
We like to cater each package to each person. We don't have anything on paper. For the most part, when people come in, they look at our wine, champagne or liquor list and it kind of sells itself. We have a very extensive champagne list and all of the liquor favorites.
What's your most expensive bottle that you offer?
We have some magnums of Ace, which is not uncommon. Someone ordered two of those along with a lot of liquor, Cristol, you name it. I'm pretty sure it was the same night that I was talking about from a few weeks ago. Part of the crew was from their low-to-mid 30s all the way to women in their 60s and 70s. These women were literally standing on their seats dancing. Literally going to town. We should all be so fortunate to have that kind of energy.
How much can someone spend at the club on a package in one night?
On Fridays and Saturdays, our average table goes for around $500. We're willing to work with people if they want to go really up. But our tables start at around $500, we do $750 and we have $1,000+ packages. I've made it clear to my staff: it's all about the customer. Catering to their every whim. We are in a business that is saturated with other places. Nearby, blocks away, miles away. We are not a place that says "no." We will do everything humanly possible to make each night as crazy as they want.
Speaking of crazy, what's one of the craziest things you've ever seen at Kabin?
Haha- — I've seen some pretty wild stuff. One of the most humorous things happened just a couple of days ago. We have a beautiful champagne display by the front door, right next to the host stand. It's all lit up and encased in brass. It's all Ace of Spades and a variety of other bottles. It's all fake. They're dummy bottles. It's just a beautiful, stunning display. So, we had a very interesting gentleman come up to the display, look up to see if the camera that was looking at the display was real. He probably puts his face about two inches away from it. It was almost like I was being punked. You can't make this crap up. I guess he thought that the camera was fake for a second. He then covers his face, opens up the champagne display, takes two of the dummy bottles and then runs out the door. Not realizing, I'm watching this, one foot away. I'm on the other side of that door.
He didn't get very far?
No, he didn't get very far. I was keeling over, not believing this was actually happening. I thought someone was playing a trick on me.
Any other stories?
About three weeks ago, we found one Prada shoe. Just one. And they never came back for it. Another time, it was super cold outside so the coat check was filling up pretty fast. A guy offered my coat check girl $100 to be able to throw his scarf and gloves on the floor in front of her. People still tend to crack me up.
You must see tons of stuff.
Every night is another adventure.
What's the dress code at Kabin?
The dress code is just casual attire. We take great pride in the way the place looks. We have an amazing designer, amazing partners behind the designer. We're not going to cherry pick. We like for people to dress the part but, you know, when we're in suits, we're just jealous of the other people wearing jeans, loafers and a button down. We just want people's attire to match the decor.
On nights when you're near or fully booked, is there anything someone can do to get into Kabin more quickly?
For the most part, we cater to old-fashioned values. It's ladies first. We very rarely let a woman wait. It's far too cold out now. Late last night, we had a lady come here with just the lightest blouse, something like you might wear in Miami but not in 20 degree D.C. Poor woman, she was freezing her tail off. We just let her in. We were at capacity but I couldn't stand there to watch her shiver away. But for the most part, I just don't believe in stretching the rules. I'm not going to jeopardize someone's experience with us just because we want to keep pushing and pushing people in. It's about quality, not quantity.
What's the most extreme thing someone has offered you or tried to do to get into club?
Haha, extreme things? I've seen some extreme things. I've been offered a watch. I don't know if it was fake or not but he literally took it off his hand, he wanted to be part of the party so much. I didn't take the watch and didn't let him in. I've been offered — haha — certain favors that I never took up on. By both sexes.
What's the busiest night of the week at Kabin?
Friday is a blast but I've gotta say, my hat gets tipped to Saturday. We have some amazing promoters. Every Saturday, we're sold out and if we're not sold out by the time we open, we're sold out an hour in. Either way, we expect the same thing. We expect crazy requests, tons of people and a good-looking crowd. You look at yourself and realize you've got to do what you can. We open at 10 o'clock, we close at three. We have five hours to make every single person as happy as they can be. Our hope is that they will choose us for their next adventure, the next weekend.