When you first think of Sky Pinnick, you think the founder and owner of Rage Productions Inc. and Rage Films, making amazing action sports films such as: Pretty Good, Such Is Life and Down Days. What you may not know is he has dabbed his entrepreneurial hands in the service industry. He opened a bar called Velvet in Bend, Oregon back in 2009, which is something he has been passionate about doing for over a decade.
So not only is Pinnick continuing to take the action sports film industry by storm, he’s doing it on the bar front too. Velvet is spanned over two levels bringing in fun and very reasonably priced food and drinks. With a mantra like “Classy or Trashy,” everyone feels welcomed. Keeping the love for action sports at Velvet, both Pinnick’s Rage Films and other fellow ski/boarding filmmakers’ movies play on their televisions. It’s a just a good mountain-style bar for hanging and relaxing.
The insanely rad decor of Velvet like the wood panel pictured left, is rooted in 1905 Bend history – It’s from reclaimed barn wood. It’s re-used style surely is in keeping with the cool, upscale green living vibe of Bend, Oregon.
The Ski Channel sat down with Pinnick to discuss how his dream became a reality with Velvet, and how he manages his restaurant/bar lifestyle with his filmmaking.
The Ski Channel (TSC): ‘Velvet’ Bar opened in Bend, Oregon in 2009 but it was a venture 10 years in the making. How was it conceived?
Sky Pinnick (SP): “Owning a bar had always been a dream of mine. One of those dreams that’s lodged somewhere in the back of your head that keeps popping up every now and again. Luckily
for me, the dream became a reality. One of the coolest benefits from making ski films is getting to travel around the world and visit all the best ski areas…and their bars. It was from these travels that the dream of one day having my own ski town bar was conceived. …Or it was during a game of “Sample the Bar” with Tom Wayes and Julian Carr during a vicious string of down days in Haines, Alaska…can’t remember.”
TSC: Why the name ‘Velvet?’ Are you a fan of The Velvet Underground?
SP: “The name
Velvet came from an intense PBR fueled brainstorming session. I wanted a name that could relate to action sports industry, but that wasn’t obvious. Given what I do, it would have been easy to name it something obvious and directly related to action sports, like “720 Bar” or something. Velvet is a light, soft layer of powder.”
TSC: How have you been able to balance your filmmaking and owning and operating of your production company, Rage Productions Inc. and Rage Films, with your ‘Velvet’ life?
SP: “I have an amazing staff that runs the day to day operations at the bar. And, on the other side at Rage, I have an equally amazing staff that supports the filmmaking shenanigans. So basically, I go to work at Rage and do the film thing, then I go to “work” at Velvet, which just means I go have a beer and hang out. It’s a grueling work schedule.”
TSC: How has ‘Velvet’ changed you and your perspective the restaurant/lounge/bar industry?
SP: “It seems to me that there are many people who share the same vision or dream of owning a restaurant or bar. To those people, be careful what you wish for. As much fun as it is, it’s also a lot of work and a tough industry. They say that only 1 in 10 restaurants make it. Based on experience I can see why. But at the end of the day (or night) it’s totally worth it. The coolest part for me is going into my bar and meeting new people from out of town. It’s so cool to find out how they found out about the bar and what they think of it.”
TSC: What sets ‘Velvet’ apart from the rest of the restaurant/lounges/bar in the area?
SP: “Velvet’s mantra is “Classy or Trashy.” We are one of the few places anywhere that serves PBR 40′s, yep, 40′s. At Velvet you can get your 40 one of two ways: Classy, which is served in a champagne bucket, on ice, with a couple champagne flutes; or Trashy, which is served in a brown paper bag. This mantra translates into the rest of the vibe, we have a classy environment, amazing and original cocktails, with dive bar prices. The interior is covered in re-claimed barn wood, that was actually milled in Bend in 1905, everything that could be reclaimed, recycled or reused was.”
TSC: What’s coming up new at ‘Velvet?’
SP: “We always have some sort of music going on, wether it’s a DJ or an acoustic performance. And on the TV screens you’ll see movies we’ve made, as wel
l as movies from our other action sport filmmaker friends.”
TSC: Besides the commercial you shot for ‘Velvet’ have you been able to do any other joint ventures with ‘Velvet’ and your filming background and experience?
SP: “The “Requiem for a Drink” commercial is the only video that Rage has done for Velvet. But we’ve shot a number of commercials, music videos and other projects using Velvet as a backdrop.”
TSC: Are you a skier, boarder, or both?
SP: “I am a skier.”
TSC: Where’s your favorite ski spot?
SP: “Tie between Engleberg and Zinal, both in Switzerland. Actually, scratch that, anywhere Jamie Pierre is skiing.”
TSC: What else is on your To Do List of conquering besides what you’ve accomplished already with Rage and ‘Velvet?’
SP: “I’ve indirectly gotten into rally racing with my good friend, and fellow Rager, Byron Garth. He’s an amazing driver and I’ve been fortunate enough to be his co-driver. Basically, I get to navigate while he floors it. It’s pretty crazy going as fast as we do in the car having full faith in the driver to not kill you, I guess it shows how good of a friend he is. We did the national circuit last year and had a blast.” (facebook.com/401rally)
And if you are in Bend, Oregon, you better check out ‘Velvet’ in person and tell them The Ski Channel sent you:
VELVET – 805 Northwest Wall Wall Street, Bend, Oregon 97701, Phone: 541.728.0303.