Pizza isn’t the only thing you can find at Donatos on High Street.
The basement of the chain pizza joint at 2084 N. High St. holds a venue — aptly named Donatos Basement — used for a variety of events.
Donatos Basement has seen everything from bridal showers to comedy events to hardcore music shows. The space features a full bar, stage, sound system and even a dumbwaiter for pizzas.
Trevor Jewell, the bar manager and venue coordinator for Donatos, said the reaction to the venue has been positive.
“Most of the time, (audiences are) pleasantly surprised,” he said.
He said there are many other Donatos locations with party rooms, but he doesn’t know of another one with an attached music venue.
The basement used to be home to a bar called The Northberg Tavern, which closed down eight years ago. It began to be used as a concert venue about two years ago after years of event rentals to mainly student and Greek groups.
Sandeep Sehbi, founder of booking agency Yawning Rabbit Productions booking agency and third-year in economics at Ohio State, plays a part in many of the events booked at Donatos Basement.
“In the beginning, there was no stage or PA, but they did well enough in the shows that they decided to build the stage and get a PA,” he said.
Kyla Pites, who has also organized some shows in the venue via Sehbi, is a fan of the space.
“It’s cool, I actually really like it. I was kind of hesitant as to what it was really going to be like and then I got here and I was like ‘Oh, it’s spacious, got a cool little stage and space for merch,’” she said.
The location is also a plus for the performers.
“Bands like the idea that they can have pizza,” Pites said.
Those involved with the venue hope to benefit from the close proximity to campus.
“It’s right across the street from OSU so it really encourages collaborations with student organizations,” Sehbi said.
Frequent collaborators with the venue include booking group Fake Moon Productions, Buckeye Standup Comedy Club and OSU student organization Music and Entertainment Industry Student Association.
“The concert with MEISA definitely set the bar for student attendance,” Sehbi said of the audience of about 50, adding that he hopes to collaborate further with the group in the future. Along with several Columbus bands, the MEISA show also included groups from Canada and Massachusetts.
Jewell also stressed the availability of the space to OSU students.
Rentingthe space for parties requires a $100 security deposit, which is refunded if there are no damages, and concerts require only a $25 sound rental fee.
“Pretty much any Ohio State organization that wants to have an event or needs meeting space or is trying to throw a party, they can come in and I will work with them,” he said. “It’s not just a venue — it’s a multi-faceted room.”
Jewell hopes to see the use of Donatos Basement continue to grow.
“Basically a few years from now, I’d like to see it booked up every night. I want to make sure it’s available and everyone in the area knows that they can use this space,” he said.
Sehbi also sees a bright future for the venue.
“There’s a lot of exciting things that we’re not allowed to announce to you yet that are coming up,” he said.
The next event at the venue is set to be a Black Friday concert featuring six bands including Kentucky group Lost Swimmer. It is set to take place on Nov. 28 at 6 p.m. and the cost is $5.