Bounce Sporting Club is expanding. The Chelsea spot, which opened about two months ago and also has an outpost on NYC's Upper East Side, has launched in a second space. It looks like this will be the final stop for the sports bar-cum-lounge. Owner Yosi Benvenisti breaks down the particulars of the new 3,300-square-foot space:
Nightclub Confidential (NCC): How did your brand come about?
Benvenisti: The concept developed about eight years ago. The business plan envisioned transitioning from a sports-bar feel to a lounge feel after the games were over. That’s why the design was meant to be very sexy and transitional. Between the library VIP room in the back and the booths, it goes from daytime sports viewing to full-blown nighttime spot very quickly.
NCC: What attracted to you to this space?
Benvenisti: When I first started looking for spaces, I did my rounds on 21st Street a lot and called a friend who owned the prior incarnation of where we are now. Then it was The Lot, and then Porky’s. We got together and decided we loved the energy from the room. Between the high ceilings and the way it’s one fluid space, with no real walls, we just loved it. We break it up well between day and night too. For nightlife, we like to clear out middle high tops, so we leave six booths and about six tables in the back. The middle becomes a dance floor or open area. Some people just hang out and drink. We’re not going for the crazy nightclub feel, but instead for more of a lounge environment.
NCC: Sports get people fired up. How you keep that energy going when you transition the room over?
Benvenisti: With our DJ programming. We’ve had Q-Tip spin here, and we routinely work with all the 4AM DJs. We love them because they really get the party going quick. We try to get the best we can within our budgets. After 10 p.m., it really kicks in. By midnight it’s packed. Though on the weekend, everything starts even earlier. Saturday is all day long and Sunday Funday is just a daytime party. We can’t put the game on after 3 p.m. because they’re in full party mode. When you have girls dancing on tables, who needs the game?
NCC: Do you do full lighting, as they would in a lounge or club?
Benvenisti: We’re just working on our lighting because right now it’s very minimal. We didn’t get too aggressive during the buildout, but by New Year’s, we’ll have it in place. We did a six-month build out in three months because of football season was approaching, so we didn’t have a choice to run late on this one. And we spent our money for visuals on our video system. We have 13 HD boxes running 30 TVs and a huge matrix switcher, all of which costs about $150,000.
NCC: What reigns supreme: cocktails and beer or bottle service?
Benvenisti: We do offer bottle service, and on Friday and Saturday nights, we limit the tables to F&B minimums. It’s at least one bottle and bunch of beers to sit, and if you have a big group of 10 or more, we may ask for a two-bottle minimum. The prices aren’t outrageous; it’s about $350 for a bottle of Grey Goose. But that’s because we’re very limited on tables. We play with ways to get the tables looking right by placing a nice mix of girls and guys. Those tables create the energy of the room.
NCC: What’s the door policy?
Benvenisti: We have a door Friday and Saturday, and we do use one promoter website, VenueTap. We have a limited door policy when we’re at capacity and we have reservations coming in, we don’t feel like we can accommodate eight guys, so we’ll turn them away. Saturdays and Sundays, we’re at capacity so early, it gets tricky. By 3 p.m., we’re closed, essentially. It doesn’t really help my Yelp reviews because people get agitated. Capacity is 295, but we’ll do 500 in and out throughout the night. Saturday and Sunday, we’ll have double that in and out throughout the day.