The story of Deep Ellum's comeback is not a new one, but there is a new neighbor in the form of Red Light Lounge. In the spot on main street that was once Eden Lounge this new offshoot of Lizard Lounge has been throwing one-off events all summer long to get the word out with Lizard Lounge residents DJ Virus and Will Bill while preparing the club with a fresh remodel. You could call it a very extended soft opening.
Over the past few decades, Lizard Lounge has established itself as the epicenter for all things goth and fetish, mostly due to The Church, the infamous goth night that recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Lizard Lounge been also been a regular tour stop for countless EDM DJ's and producers, but while it's right outside of Deep Ellum, Red Light is located in a prime location on Main St.
Bringing electronic road shows like Branches, Kill Frenzy, Wave Racers, Low Steppa and Motez to a neighborhood that has rarely seen much DJ culture in years. Aside from the road shows, they also have special nights featuring Dallas DJs like the Ellumental party on September 26 hosted by Dallas club vets Michael Todd and Jwho.
The grand opening night is scheduled for October 3rd, featuring Chicago house legend Green Velvet. With that event approaching, we spoke with co-owner Don Nedler to get the skinny on Red Light and what they are planning to bring to the neighborhood with the new venue.
How did Red Light come about?
Nedler: Red Light was created to fill a need we identified in the market, specifically in Deep Ellum. There are no DJ-driven nightclubs in the neighborhood. We believe there is a market for a boutique dance club.
What would you like Red Light to bring to the neighborhood?
When we look at the future of Deep Ellum, we see diversity. It's reemerging as a dining and entertainment destination, but with residential development creating critical mass. Red Light is a dance club in a neighborhood with so much diversity: residential, retail, great restaurants, galleries, bars and live music venues.
When the City of Dallas initiated enhanced zoning requirements, Deep Ellum began to attract better operators. It's different this time; you can feel it.
Who are the owners involved behind it?
The operating partners are myself and Leo Del Hierro, who's currently my operating partner at Lizard Lounge. Allen Falkner is an investor who brings tremendous heritage and event production experience. John Eaves is an investor and we have one other investor who prefers to remain under the radar.
Lizard Lounge is already very established. What made you decide to branch out to another venue?
Lizard Lounge is world famous and we're proud of that! Just about everyone has been there at one time or another. Generally, the Lounge appeals to a young demographic, with a primary market under 25 years old. We've developed brand loyalty and social media relationships with these customers and wanted to create a venue for that same consumer as they grow older. We know these consumers are seeking a different nightlife experience. We cater to customers who like dance clubs, but with a more subtle approach, like a lounge component and diverse environment.
So how will Red Light Lounge be different?
Red Light is a 3,000-square-foot space with a 3,000-square-foot rooftop terrace. The main level has 2 bars, a lounge space, DJ booth and dance floor. The environment on the rooftop patio is a nice contrast from the main floor. We installed a sound system to create a sense of balance. It can facilitate conversational volume levels, or we can bring the volume higher for our "rooftop session" DJ events.
We wanted to build a smaller venue with a lower operating cost to allow us to present more up-and-coming artists and lesser known DJs. Our emphasis remains on quality artists, great sound and delivering a top-notch nightlife experience.
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What residencies are you featuring at Red Light Lounge?
Currently, we don't have confirmed residents, but we're featuring lot's of local DJs including Jwho, Michael Todd, Demarkus Lewis, Black Frames and Hunter Vaughan. We'll be sorting out the residents as we move forward.
You have a grand opening weekend listed for October 3, but it seems like you already have a full calendar leading up to that. Are you just doing an extended soft opening?
We're still in soft-opening mode. It took months get our special use permit and dance hall permits so we're just beginning to test the limits of the venue. We're still setting sound and lighting levels and have work to do. We roll out hard in October. Not really allot of time for us to get our legs under us.