Bazal Gallery and Nightclub: How it will change QC nightlife

Just now: Bazal Gallery and Nightclub has an opening date!

When I first met Bazal Gallery and Nightclub, I was equal parts intrigued and confused. I was on QC Social Lounge website, browsing all the VIP experiences Charlotte’s current catalog of nightclubs has to offer. As my birthday approached, I wanted a reason to spend it here in Charlotte (and my wallet too).

As I was about to give up, I found my sanity. There on the homepage of QC Social Lounge there was a link to the new nightclub coming soon to the AvidXchange Music Factory. After digging into the details a bit, I was sold.

It was once home to Charlotte’s iconic nightlife spot known as Butter.

Then, after Butter closed, it became ClubONE.

Now 950 North Carolina Music Factory Blvd., is owned by Bazala scene that is poised to become one of Charlotte’s hottest nightlife destinations to date.

One address, two themes

“He was born out of something unique, something was missing,” club owner Noi Vong told CharlotteFive. “The idea came to me when I realized there was nothing I knew of that could offer the best of both worlds.”

The idea Vong mentioned refers to the ambitious concept, which is quite unique to Charlotte’s nightlife scene. Bazal, (pronounced as “Bah-zil”) is a two-story establishment that houses a bright, modern art gallery on the top floor and a dark, seductive nightclub on the ground floor.

Two worlds with the same level of contrast as “Heaven and Hell”, Vong said.

Owning nightclubs was ‘never part of the plan’

Vong, who also owns Social Salon QC in Uptown, met us at the gates of Bazal one day last week with a kind smile and a firm handshake. Sweet, hospitable, and host of an infectious laugh that follows nearly every sentence, he’s definitely not the kind of person you’d expect to own a nightclub.

In fact, owning nightclubs was never something he dreamed of doing.

“It was never part of the plan. I grew up in a restaurant family,” Vong said. “How the nightlife became, now, my life…it was completely by accident.”

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Noi Vong is the owner of Bazal, a new art gallery and nightclub in Charlotte, located where popular venues like Butter and ClubONE used to be. Alex Casson CharlotteFive

Vong was thrown into Charlotte’s nightlife around 2007, when he became involved with the defunct club formerly known as “RE:PUBLIC”. His experience with RE:PUBLIC inspired him to try running a nightclub himself.

“I quickly realized that there were so many things wrong, with the operations and the way things were going, the people coming in. It became a challenge for me to improve (the nightlife),” Vong said.

So Vong set out to shake up Charlotte’s nightlife scene by opening QC Social Lounge, and he vowed to run it honestly.

No shaded back room at this club

This is also his goal with Bazal. In a perfect world, nightclubs are free from clandestine dealings and run much more like a “Fortune” 500 company with systems in place, Vong said.

Yet much like a career in nightlife, Bazal wasn’t even something Vong considered until he visited the venue.

“I was not looking to do (Bazal). It wasn’t until the space became available that it really piqued my interest,” Vong explained. “I didn’t have any plans in place, I just let myself go and built it as I went. It is a kind of work of art in itself.

And it is.

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The gallery-level bar at Bazal will offer a drink menu that differs greatly from the nightclub’s bar offerings. Alex Casson CharlotteFive

The upstairs walls are adorned with original artwork by local and foreign artists. Every inch of the place is covered in gold finishes or white marble. Furnishings are tasteful and the drinks menu features premium liquors, elegant craft cocktails and unique spirits from around the world.

Asked about the rest of the drinks menu, Vong reassured us by explaining that customers will still be able to order their Red Bulls vodka and tequila shots from the nightclub downstairs.

The collision of two very different scenes is such an unfamiliar concept that I couldn’t help but wonder where it came from. Vong said the concept was born out of necessity.

“As more and more people come from other well-trafficked and well-cultivated markets, we have nothing to offer them,” Vong said. “God knows we have enough breweries, don’t we? »

Amen.

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Owner Noi Vong hopes to welcome a variety of local and global DJs to Bazal’s nightclub. The elevated DJ booth includes a VIP section on both the left side and the ride side. Alex Casson CharlotteFive

VIP clubs, without airfare

“It would be great to do something super cool that could put Charlotte on the map in terms of nightlife destinations,” he said. “Something that could be classy and upscale and have a true VIP experience without having to go to Vegas or New York.”

And he’s right. Without establishments like Bazal, Charlotte’s nightlife lacks tasteful, sophisticated, and truly special venues. Most of the nightclubs in the area have sticky floors and a crowd that hasn’t passed its Fireball stage yet.

That’s why I often find myself flying to New York on the weekends instead of hanging out in Charlotte. Until now, there was no bar or club here that could compete with the nightlife spots I frequent up north.

When I told Noi that I used to run homeland to avoid sipping beer at breweries on weekends, he laughed. But he also understood.

“From my banker friends to influencers, even local celebrities and athletes, they’re saying the exact same thing: well, since Butter, we really have no reason to be here anymore,” Vong said.

Asked about the crowd he hopes to attract with Bazal, Vong answered quickly.

“I imagine seeing people like you. I’ve traveled,” he said. “People who are looking for an elevated experience and people who haven’t had that before.”

Then I asked Noi what was it about Bazal that would keep people coming back, and this time he took a long pause to think carefully about his answer. Finally, he replied, “The vibe.”

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Bazal patrons can wander around both areas of the venue at their leisure. The upper level gallery offers a more elegant and intimate setting for visitors. Alex Casson CharlotteFive

This story was originally published May 25, 2022 6:15 a.m.

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Evan Santiago is a reporter for the Charlotte Observer and writes for the publication’s Service Journalism Desk. He is originally from New York and is currently based in Queen City where he works to help local readers with the challenges that come with everyday life in the modern world.

Jerry C. Greiner