Andee Avila of Andy Frasco and the United Nations rips cords during the Tuesday, March 14 show at Bruno’s Cavern. (Photo by Daniel J. Mancuso, Illinois Valley News)
One year ago, Ben Flip was standing in the former Art’s Red Garter building that was in complete disarray. Flip told the Illinois Valley News about his vision for Bruno’s Cavern. At the time it seemed Flip was chasing a wild dream; one year later that vision is becoming a reality.
Flip, along with his partner Ida Teasdale, purchased the building in October 2021, after it sat vacant for nearly four years, and then opened Bruno’s Aug. 1, 2022.
Bruno’s Cavern aptly named after Elijah Davidson’s dog which chased a bear into what is now known as the Oregon Caves National Monument. As a follow-up, the Illinois Valley News sat down with Flip and his 6-month-old daughter Cora to see how things were going.
“Things are going great, there were moments where I thought maybe I had the wrong vision. I think any great endeavor has some doubts in it at some point and it’s what you do with those moments and that builds something great,” said Flip, adding, “You have to be flexible and you take what you are given, adapt and move forward.”
According to Flip, he feels Bruno’s is a gem in the crown of CJ and is seeing people from all over Southern Oregon coming to find a place that Cave Junction residents can be proud of.
One special event created at Bruno’s is the Thursday “Teen night.” According to Flip, the event has been going well and the teens are excited to have a safe alternative to spend time together and have social interaction outside of school.
Teen night has a DJ, karaoke, foosball and other age appropriate games.
According to Flip, one parent said their child felt distant from his peers and now he has friends that maybe he wouldn’t have had.
Teens access from the front of the building and do not enter through the bar. Also the bar patrons do not have access to the teens. The program is going well, but has often been canceled due to lack of parental chaperones. Flip asks that any parents interested in helping reach out to him so that they can continue this opportunity. This offering is not a money maker and is open to other businesses to sponsor it with funds or food for the children. Daddy and Me Locksmith has donated time and money to help keep this program going.
For the adults, Bruno’s books bands that are on off nights when they are traveling through the Illinois Valley area, similar to the Rogue Theater in Grants Pass. Recently, Andy Frasco and the United Nations came through and really put on a show. “Andy is a showman,” said Flip. Recently Frasco sold out the Trubador in LA which was named one of the best rock clubs by Rolling Stone magazine. Frasco’s booking agent called Bruno’s to fill a hole in their trip. According to Flip, Frasco said his dad was named Bruno so he said, “What the hell, let’s do it.”
While the crowd was small, Frasco and crew didn’t pull any punches putting on a show that was very entertaining.
Flip mentioned that one of the recent artists, a member of the band Dopapod, said he really likes venues like this because everyone knows each other: “It’s like a community having a celebration together.”
Bruno’s upcoming bands include country shows by the Drunken Hearts and Shook Twins. And blues veteran Son Little and jazz fusion band Garaje Mahall will be here soon.
Recently Free Creatures, Dopapod, Dead AF and others have played, paired with local artists.
“Part of my vision was to pair local talent with national acts. When we get a chance, it’s great to get some of our homegrown talent on the stage.”
While Flip says they are still trying to establish their brand and grow to meet the needs of the community, Bruno’s wants to give the community its best while allowing a place for children. “I’m not going to say we are the best in the Valley, but I want to do the best that Bruno’s can do and we are going to live up to that by providing premium service, premium food, cocktails, music and entertainment. If we can’t do that, it’s not worth doing in my opinion.”
“The coolest thing we have done that I am proud of is we are open for private events for children’s birthdays and even the E Clampus Vitus Widders Ball. It’s important to have a place for the community to celebrate and commiserate.” Cora smiled and cooed in agreement.
Upcoming bands and tickets are listed on ticketweb.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/brunoscaverncj.