Eleven50 Turns 2
by Darbi Aranio
photos by Martynas Simokaitis
Eleven50 celebrated their two-year anniversary on Saturday, October 26th, 2002. Founded by Byron Burroughs and Greg Scott, eleven50 has become one of the most happening nightspots in Atlanta. They constantly bring in some of the most sought after DJs in the world, with a list of talent that is too long to even begin naming. However, eleven50 is not limited to just DJ culture and have a variety of different events held there as well. Lunar sat down with eleven50's Manager of Marketing and Public Relations, Bill Kaelin, to discuss the evolution of this premier Atlanta venue.
This unique space has had an interesting past. Eleven50 has housed two other clubs: Petra and Axys. Kaelin states, "Petra was actually owned by one of the most hardcore nightclub owners of all time, which was Peter Geishan, who started the Limelight in New York and Chicago. I'm not an originator: I came in 6 months after this place had been open. From what I understand, this building sat dormant for something like five or six years, and when they took over it was infested with rats. It was decomposed. It's an old 1920's theater, an old opera house. So it's got some history. We often say these walls are talking all the time."
As the founders of eleven50, Byron and Greg had a dream. When asked about the original goals of opening eleven50, Bill comments, "I'm speaking for Byron and Greg, but from what I understand their original goal was to actually get their hands on such a beautiful, amazing space and try to create something for Atlanta that was lacking. And to have fun with it more than anything. Not that age has anything to do with it, but it's truly a perfect story of young entrepreneurs having an idea and just getting lucky and getting to play with a dream, because their average age is like 30 years old. It's created less about the desire to make money and more about the desire to help put Atlanta on the map, because all of us had been in that place where we'd lived here, but we always wanted something more, something different to do."
Even though they are well known as an Atlanta nightspot, eleven50 does not want to be known as a club. "We don't want to be necessarily labeled," Bill asserts. "In most of our marketing, I try really hard not to even have club in the word eleven50 or nightclub because club and nightclub I think pigeon hole us. It's so much more than that." Even on their website, they refer to eleven50 as "a unique upscale lounge and art gallery with the air of a boutique Hotel." Versatility is key. Formal corporate events, live shows, charity events and wine tastings all lie in their repertoire as well, bringing a diverse flavor to this venue.
The past two years have not been easy to say the least. With the tragedy of September 11th, and then a fire in the building later that month, they've definitely had some rocky times. Bill attributes their success to perseverance. "Under severe circumstances, we still didn't stop," Bill states. "We feel very, very fortunate for it being majority consistent: I think the diversity is what made it consistent to a certain degree, or at least that's what I would like to believe. Things like Seks or the Housecall events where the styles of music are different." At their two year mark, eleven50 is still a force to be reckoned with, boasting a staff of about 80 people and bringing approximately 10,000 heads through the door a month. Bill comments, "In terms of nightclub standards, if it makes it three years, you're considered to be really, really accomplished. They [clubs] don't last. We're very excited that here we are at our 2-year and it's still going strong and people aren't bored yet and still showing their love. Because that's a big part of it."
That love is another key to their success and consists of the people supporting them here in the Atlanta scene. "You get a lot of people that bitch and complain," Bill states wearily. "I'm not saying everybody has to be a fan of every particular type of music, but not be so critical, because you have to support it, if you don't support it then it's not going to happenplain and simple. If any venue of this size has a bad month because people are not being supportive, it can be gone in an instant. And then what do people do if it's gone? Then everybody bitches and complains again. I hope people continue to support it," Bill affirms.
Where do they go from here? Short-term changes will be mostly interior. Bill states, "We want to constantly change the interior a little bit because that keeps it interesting. I think customers like to see that a venue's giving back to them rather than just pocketing the money. Things like new furniture in the VIP room, or more speakers, or expanding the dancefloor, having another bar. I think every summer season you're going to see a change with Acqua, keeping it interesting and fresh." Long-term changes are mainly just to keep moving forward. "Bring more and more stuff in," Bill says enthusiastically. "Multimedia events even. Things like Flashbang and some of those Universal Culture events that we did during the week. And keeping the diversity up. I'm really excited about the live stuff working out, because then that brings a whole new element too."
In addition, there has been a recent change of ownership by a "well funded group of restaurateurs and club owners, but as eleven50," according to a statement made by Byron Burroughs here on the Lunar forum. But Byron states that this is only for the better, and that "their intention is for eleven50 to be the crown jewel of their operation and only to improve it, not change it."
Thanks for a great two years eleven50! Here's to another two!
Mushroom Jazz 4
|home | features | events | reviews | dj charts | forum | my lunar | links | about us | contact|