At the centre of Fredericton’s small but enthusiastic bar scene lies The Capital Complex, located in the beer garden of the downtown Tannery between King and Queen Street. The Tannery quadrant used to supply the shoe factory with leather; it now provides late-night entertainment and quality live music to the city.
The Capital’s ramshackle levels and terraces give it the appearance of a brick and iron treehouse, made strictly for adults. That treehouse vibe is enhanced by low lighting, mismatched seating, and lots of nooks to explore. The bar has been a part of Fredericton nightlife for ten years and placed in the Top 10 during CBC’s “Venue of the Year” competition in 2009 — not to mention that Nick Cobham of the Olympic Symphonium called the Capital his favourite venue in Fredericton, telling us “I love being there, on or off the stage. Be prepared to sweat.”
The Complex contains three small venues: The Capital Bar, The Phoenix Nightclub (both open Thursday to Saturday nights) and Wilser’s Room (open Tuesdays to Saturdays), each with their own separate bar. You can find the main stage in the basement Capital Bar, a long narrow room with a low stage; this space has hosted national acts like Mother Mother, Little You Little Me, Hayden, Preoccupations, the Luyas, PUP, Evan Dando and Sara Johnston, and each year helps host the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival and Flourish Festival. The crowds pack tight into this space and show their appreciation for acts big and small.
Wilser’s Room is popular for laid-back conversation either inside the candlelit, couch-strewn space or out on the ramshackle patio that overlooks the noise of the Tannery. It hosts occasional shows and features an Open Mic night on Tuesdays, a monthly comedy night, Reggae nights and a Vinyl party for listening to and swapping record collections. Wilser’s also helps host the Living Roots Music Festival, and occasionally features Battle of the Bands competitions on their small stage.
The Phoenix Nightclub features DJs and dancing each night, with a distinct singles-mingling vibe, but becomes more casual and group-friendly at Thursday Trivia and Wednesday Drag Bingo nights.
The Capital is accessible by taxi, located two minutes from the main bus depot at King’s Place, and is within walking distance of all of downtown Fredericton.