Yo, club rats ...
The Miami Ink guys have cashed out of Love Hate Lounge on South Beach, leaving DJ Self Born (the guy who started the most successful night, the Classic Sundays hip-hop party) in charge, along with silent partners Deville Social Club LLC.
New franchisee Self Born has dubbed his incarnation of Love Hate, the "world's first DJ bar," which means it's a comfortable neighborhood joint where the people playing the music are more than just button pushers, they're some of the best spinners in the MIA.
Crossfade: So how'd this all come about?
Self Born: Well, basically the story starts when I moved here from Chicago about eight and a half years ago. I found Love Hate about four years ago to do the Classic Sundays party. I play 70s, 80s, and 90s music there. It's the only consistent party of its kind on the beach, not just 45 minutes of old school. Over the years, it went from the bar's slowest night to the busiest. It was home.
Throughout this time, I'd expressed my desire to own a place. I've been DJing for 21 years and toured with Wu Tang and Special Ed. So I got tired of the frustration from clubs and the trials and tribulations of the game. I was saying, "Watch, one day, I'm gonna have my own place to do this and that." And so when the Ink guys were leaving, they approached me and the silent partners with the idea for this deal.
So instead of doing a build out and all that, they proposed my taking over.
How long did the transition take?
It took about a year to get it all aligned and in order. On May 1, I took over and got my keys, and now it's under my control.
I've franchised the business from Deville Social Club, and I leased the name and the branding. Now I'm calling this "the world's first DJ Bar," where you're gonna hear quality DJs. The experience is centered around the music and more than just buying drinks. We're open seven days a week. And we've got turntables and a mixer.
What else have you changed?
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I put TVs in, a stage, and a booth that I built myself. I painted and finished a VIP booth and upgraded the spot, which needed some TLC. Then I went behind the scenes in all the positions, so I can see what goes into each job, and I'm not just writing checks. On the nights that I let my manager have off, I'm the bar back.
How about the weekly party plan?
We do all kinds of different nights. But musically, they're all the same quality. Wednesday night is salsa night with dance lessons. We have a reggae night, a European house-y party bus night, open format, and an industry night with half-off everything. We're gonna be incorporating live performances and cater to local artists. And you can also catch DJs like Red Alert, LS One, Rich Medina, Entice, just hanging out. It's a DJ bar.