People have an unusual, superstitious interest in the number seven. Look at the proof: 7UP and Seagram's 7 (which, if you mix them together, make the ever popular seven & seven cocktail), the Seven Signs of the Apocalypse, The Magnificent Seven, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, 7th Heaven (Jessica Biel, you foul temptress!), the seven deadly sins (which spawned that creepy-ass Brad Pitt movie). And, of course, that's also the real name of Erykah Badu's son and what George Costanza wanted to name the child he and Susan never had.
But sometimes that number isn't particularly lucky. Let's take, for example, a new downtown nightclub called Seven Lounge (1006 Bagby, suite 106). To be more accurate, Seven Lounge is actually located in the Midtown area, which suits its owners just fine. "It's still centrally located," assures Chuck Russell. "It's not that difficult to find once you know where it is." Russell, along with fellow owner Todd Stevens, have already struck success in Midtown with their two-year-old world cuisine eatery Farrago (318 Gray). With the weeks-old Seven, a block away from Farrago, the management is looking to attract folks who are fed up with the NoDo hustle and bustle and are looking for a stress-free time. "When the downtown landlords got a little greedy, and with all the construction, it just made sense to do something outside of downtown and still be close," he says.
So these cats open up a cavernous club with a 25-and-up age limit ("We don't want the college kids," Russell says bluntly), folks flock in, and everything's peachy, right? You'd think so, but during the club's preparation, the Seven owners made an awkward discovery: There's already another joint in town with the same name. To be exact, this spot is known as the Seven Sports & Music Bar (4709 Dowling). As with the Midtown Seven, they have a roman numeral sign in the window.
But the similarities stop there. The Third Ward Seven is a black-owned club that's primarily frequented by black people. The club is by no means a hole-in-the-wall, which has caught some patrons off-guard. "Ninety-five percent of my clientele are professionals," says Third Ward Seven owner Nathan Campbell. "But a lot of people that finally find this place are surprised that this is the Seven that they hear so much [about]."
A club or bar picking up the name, intentionally or unintentionally, of another club or bar is not a new thing. But usually a new spot will take on the name of a club in another city. There is another Cafe Brasil in New Orleans, for example, and another Tonic on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Needless to say, Campbell was a little peeved that some Midtown boys would open up a club with the same name as his a mere four miles away. (Campbell says he's gotten a few phone calls asking for directions to the Midtown Seven.) In fact, he believes the owners came into his spot one night to ask questions and make sure his Seven wouldn't clash with theirs.
"No, they didn't introduce themselves," he says. "But [some people] came in and looked around and they asked questions. Then, another Seven opens."
The folks at the Midtown Seven Lounge say they never went to the Third Ward Seven to, as Bernie Mac would say, see what the fuck is goings-on. They say they named the spot after a Sunday-night party Farrago used to have called "Day Seven" and only found out about the Third Ward Seven two months into the club's construction.
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"We heard after we'd already signed our limited liability partnership," says Seven general manager Nelson Cormack. But instead of changing the name, the Midtown entrepreneurs decided to push forward, figuring that the name isn't copyrighted and that they're attracting an entirely different audience. "We were actually shocked that there was one that close," says Cormack. "But they're a sports bar. It's a different atmosphere as well."
Campbell isn't sweating the whole name thing too hard. "What's that saying? Imitation is " The sincerest form of flattery? "That's right. That's what I wanna say!"
Although it has been open a good couple of months now and even caught the attention of this column when it began picking up customers (see "West End Glitz Blitz," April 11), The Social Lounge and Patio Bar (3730 Washington Avenue) has decided that now would be a good time to announce its "grand opening." Guess they needed more time to get a good deal on champagne or something. On Wednesday, July 31, the Sixth Ward fun spot will finally hold its grand opening, which will also serve as a benefit for Citizens for Animal Protection. The overworked and hopefully overpaid DJ Sun is the featured talent for the occasion. Even if you've been going to the Social since it first opened, you can still attend this event -- just act surprised and overwhelmed when you see all the cool furniture and stuff.