‘The Pomp Room’ documentary celebrates former Sioux Falls bar

Opera theater

Music fans of all ages were in attendance Saturday night for the sold-out premiere of “The Pomp Room: A Rock N Roll Bar Story,” at the Orpheum Theater in Sioux Falls.

Many wore band shirts like Aerosmith, who played the Sioux Falls bar in 1993, and Metallica while others wore Pomp Room shirts with the phrase “thanks for stomping” on the back.

Dale Tucker, 58, was in the bar when Aerosmith played that night. He remembers being wrapped up, like wearing a tight pair of shoes.

“It was hard to get around, but with Aerosmith there nobody wanted to anyway, they were all glued to the stage,” he said. “It was awesome.”

The Pomp Room, which opened in 1958 as the “Pump Room”, after a bar in Chicago, but became the Pomp Room after the owners received a letter from the Chicago bar owner’s attorney asking them to change their name, closed in 1998.

Looking back:Pomp Room has gone from a posh night spot to a rough, tumble dive bar

The documentary, directed by South Dakota filmmakers Jesse Yost and Austin Kaus, took eight years to shoot with the help of hundreds of interviews and several memorabilia boxes.

Yost and Kaus also visited the Pomp room when it opened. Yost played in bands The Glory Holes and 12½ Charlies which performed at the bar while Kaus traveled from Wessington Springs to high school to see bands GWAR, Blink-182 and Neurosis perform.

Throughout its time, from when it was first located at 31 South Main Avenue until when it moved to 215 North Dakota Avenue, the bar was a venue for live music and a “passage to adulthood” for young people who had just turned 21, Shane Holtman recalls.

Holtman, 50, has seen a few local bands like General Bob and Violet, but also bigger bands like Jonny Lang, an American blues, gospel and rock singer from North Dakota.

“I think he was 15 or 16 when he stopped on the way,” Holtman said. “I don’t know how he got into the bar, but I saw him playing there.”

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Crowds of people fill the Orpheum Theater before

Sondra Bowden, 60, remembers “it was the easiest bar in the world before I was 21”.

She said a friend who was 21 could come inside and then open the back door for underage people.

Bowden and his friend Linda Josten, 60, were curious what kind of footage Yost and Kaus had used from the bar.

“The problem is back when nobody had a phone or a camera,” Bowden said.

“In that mentality, it was kind of a more carefree time,” added Josten. “Yeah, with the way you’re thinking today, you wish you had pictures. But you have memories, that’s the best part.”

Where can I see “The Pomp Room”

A DVD version of the documentary can be purchased from the IndieGoGo.com website by searching for “Pomp Room”.

Another screening of the documentary is also scheduled for Friday, November 25 at the Wessington Springs Opera House at 8 p.m. in Wessington Springs.