Kaci Tokumoto, owner of Bar Deluxe, has a head for the business of booze. She’s a force in the city’s nightlife and an advocate of artists of all stripes, which is why Bar Deluxe (668 S. State) hosts both local and international bands as well as burlesque troupes and comedians. City Weekly asked Tokumoto about her multitasking skills.
How and when did you acquire Bar Deluxe? June 2009. I had a couple of partners who wanted to buy the bar. They approached me in January 2009 with the concept of taking over Bar Deluxe and completely remodeling it. We were going to make it into more of a lounge instead of a venue. They ended up backing out, and I decided to do it myself.
How did you get into the bar business? I’ve worked in the industry since 2000. It was something I could do while going to college and still pay my bills. Even after getting a couple of degrees, I still held a bar job in addition to an office job.
Do you need an MBA to run a bar? I got an MBA because I didn’t know what career path to take. Some of the business classes I took have helped me with managing the accounting side of the bar. However, most of what I’ve learned comes from years of working in the industry.
What do you like most about this business? I love the people that we get to meet and interact with. Some of the bands and their fans have become close friends of mine. Without the bar, I never would have met them. It’s been amazing getting to know their talents and their personalities!
How many people have you had to kick out? Personally, I’ve only thrown a couple of people out, which is always interesting because I’m 5 feet tall and most of whom I have to physically throw out are way larger.
Name some of your favorite acts at your bar? There’s quite a few. Murder By Death, Chali 2na, Doug Stanhope, The Blue Boutique fashion show and then, of course, all of the local bands that I love: King Niko, Muscle Hawk, The Last Look, Junior Giant, Erin Barra, The Suicycles, The Vision, The Orbit Group. We’ve got a fashion show with Black Chandelier coming up, which is going to be jungle themed. Describe Salt Lake City’s nightlife. It’s awesome, there’s a bar to fit every personality and mood. I love when people complain about Salt Lake City and the bar scene—everyone’s negative perceptions are always turned around after their visit.