Even in the recession, some brave entrepreneurs are taking chances, leasing failed bars and clubs and turning them into new concepts. In fact, two local men are making a business out of bar reinvention.
Alan Beal and Jose Morales own Bar Concepts Incorporated, a company dedicated to helping struggling nightlife venues boost marketing, update their spaces and get partygoers in the door.
“There are so many places that are stressed by the economy right now,” Beal says. “Sometimes all they need is a second pair of eyes.”
Within 24 hours of launching BCI’s Web site this spring, Beal says he had two new clients.
Beal and Morales’ latest project is at the Indochine Grill in the EpiCentre. It started out as a Vietnamese restaurant with Japanese and French influences. But the owners quickly realized that without a bar component, EpiCentre visitors were bypassing it.
Beal says BCI is helping add a bar, update the interior and turn it into an Asian fusion restaurant with tapas and a lounge-like feel.
“The décor looked too much like a standard Chinese buffet chain,” he says.
After a soft opening on Wednesday, Indochine is set to officially reopen next week.
Also on Beal’s project list this month: the old Hom nightclub multilevel complex. Plans include opening a Fiji Sushi Bar & Lounge (in the old Feast space) and Kashmere, an upscale “progressive nightclub” downstairs (where Liv used to be).
He expects to open both venues in August and sees a new entertainment district brewing along Fifth Street between Church and Tryon streets.
"With Basil open, Fiji and Kashmere coming, and the development going on at Ivey's, there are going to be a lot of choices for destination spots," he says. "You'll have the EpiCentre, the N.C. Music Factory and now the Fifth Street corridor."