Courtesy of Half Lounge
L-R: Boudee Luangrath, Aaron Chiaravelotti, Adrian Sackheim
When Half Lounge
closed its doors in March, it left a fairly large hole in Burlington's nightlife scene. But the pint-sized, live music hotspot will reopen soon under new ownership.
The proprietors of Mr. Mikes Pizza
, Aaron Chiaravelotti and Boudee Luangrath, along with SideBar
talent buyer Adrian Sackheim, purchased the business in May and hope to reopen it in early August. Chiaravelotti and Luangrath also own SideBar, which they opened in 2016.
Sackheim, 32, will serve as the club's talent buyer. He co-owns 2K Deep
, a DJ collective, promotional and production company. He also owns two record labels, Party Guy Records
and Cenote Records
, and deejays under the name Haitian. Though he's a seasoned business owner, this is Sackheim's first stake in a brick and mortar business.
He'a been a regular at Half Lounge for years — both as a performer and customer.
"I've been in Burlington since '03, and I've been going there since I got here," Sackheim tells Seven Days
in his office above Mr. Mikes. "It's a staple in the downtown music scene and we owe a lot to it."
Despite its minuscule square footage, the club was known as a go-to spot for live music — particularly for dance parties. Sackheim intends to continue that legacy. Much like SideBar, he plans for Half Lounge to have entertainment every night of the week.
"It's always been a home and a refuge for less popular types of music," says Sackheim.
He refers to the club's emphasis on underground electronica — specifically deep house, jungle and drum and bass. For instance, a former weekly event called Whiplash hosted world-class EDM talent, according to Sackheim.
"It's been essential in cultivating this thriving underground music scene we have here — at least on the electronic side," he says.
Half Lounge is currently undergoing a much-needed facelift.
"I wouldn't say we're gutting it," says Sackheim. "But it's a complete overhaul."
Improvements include fresh paint, new furniture, updated lighting and a slightly redesigned floor plan. A floating drink rail made of reclaimed wood will replace the long, bench seating that used to occupy the diminutive club's northern wall, with backless bar stools that slide underneath. This change will add a bit of much-needed space to the cramped dance floor.
The new owners also plan to revamp the cocktail menu and eventually plan to offer small plates. But not everything from the old menu is disappearing.
"The Velvet Glove stays," says Sackheim of the bar's signature drink: Stoli Blueberry, peach schnapps, apple cider, lime juice and prosecco.
Be on the lookout for a grand re-opening in the first weeks of August.