Dancing to a new tune

Six years after opening The Firm (now the Lava Ultra Lounge) in downtown Red Deer, Quan Diep is broadening his business reach.

Quan Diep checks his email under the laser and other lights of the Plaza’s dance floor.

Six years after opening The Firm (now the Lava Ultra Lounge) in downtown Red Deer, Quan Diep is broadening his business reach.

The 32-year-old quietly launched The Plaza nightclub a little over a week ago, and expects to be serving clientele at The Med Grill & Bar before year end.

Despite the still shaky economy, Diep believes the city is ready for something new, both on the dancing and the dining fronts.

The Plaza occupies the 5004 48 St. premises that were previously the site of Sambuca Sam’s. Diep gutted and redesigned the space — with IMC Construction Ltd. his general contractor — and added a new sound and laser system.

“If you had to compare it to something, it’d be like a laser you’d find in a Pink Floyd concert,” he said. “It does amazing stuff.”

The sound system, continued Diep, is designed to keep volumes at a comfortable level for non-dancers.

“But the minute you step onto the dance floor, it’s loud.”

Diep has instituted a $5 cover charge and a dress code at The Plaza. The latter restriction, he said, covers things like backward hats, tattered shoes, sweats and gang colours.

“With our dress code, it’s more neat-casual than anything,” he said.

That, and The Plaza’s nominal cover charge, should help discourage the less desirable element from congregating there, hopes Diep.

“The people who will respect rules, like a dress code or cover charge, are the people you want to come out.

“It’s just creating a better, safe, fun environment.”

The Plaza’s opening has been kept low-key to allow staff, which Diep expects to eventually number around 30, to familiarize themselves with the club and its systems.

Meanwhile, work on The Med Grill & Bar is nearing completion.

Situated on the west side of the Old Brew Plaza at 5301 43rd St., the restaurant will feature a sports lounge and dining spread over three levels. It will have seating for about 140.

Diep said his general manager there will be Pete Sok, who managed The Keg Steakhouse and Bar in Red Deer.

“He’s opened up seven Kegs. He knows his stuff.”

Helping design the Mediterranean-influenced cuisine is a chef Diep said previously worked under Marco Pierre White, of Hell’s Kitchen Europe fame.

Lava Ultra Lounge owes its existence to Diep’s decision to plot out the venture while taking business at Mount Royal College in Calgary.

“One of my projects, I had to make a business plan. So I did a business plan on something I know, which is the club scene.”

The Red Deer resident, whose family owns and operates the Pho Thuy Dong Vietnamese Restaurant in the city, decided to transform his hypothetical business into reality. The Firm was the result.

Diep’s interests in entertainment includes AEC Live, a business through which he promotes live performers across Canada. He’s organized shows involving the likes of 50 Cent, Matthew Good, Dwight Yoakam, Snoop Dogg and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Good-bye ice and snow, hello potholes on Red Deer roads

City workers will be spending 20 hours a day on various road repairs

Fog advisory in effect for Red Deer, central Alberta

Heavy fog is affecting visibility for central Alberta drivers Saturday morning. A… Continue reading

Climate change’s impact on outdoor hockey discussed in Red Deer

Red Deer River Watershed Alliance held a forum Friday at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame

Collision between Red Deer transit bus and truck investigated by RCMP

No one on bus was hurt, truck driver had minor injuries

Eckville man facing about 80 child sexual exploitation charges in court

More than half a million photos and videos found on electronic devices

WATCH: Fashion show highlights Cree designers

The fashion show was part of a Samson Cree Nation conference on MMIW

Montreal priest stabbed during mass leaves hospital; suspect to be charged

MONTREAL — A Catholic priest who was stabbed as he was celebrating… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $35.7 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $35.7 million jackpot… Continue reading

New report details impact of proposed NS spaceport in event of explosion or fire

HALIFAX — The head of a company proposing to open Canada’s only… Continue reading

Quebec man convicted in Mafia-linked conspiracy deported to Italy

MONTREAL — Michele Torre, a Quebec man convicted in 1996 for his… Continue reading

Republican Karl Rove says conservatives need more than simplistic slogans

OTTAWA — Legendary Republican campaign strategist Karl Rove, known for his no-holds-barred… Continue reading

B.C. hospital’s use as shelter ‘clarion call’ about housing crisis, says mayor

The 10-bed regional hospital that serves the medical needs of 5,000 people… Continue reading

Puddle splashing: A rite of spring

Is there anything more fun than driving through water-filled potholes in the… Continue reading

Special evaluations can help seniors cope with cancer care

Before she could start breast cancer treatment, Nancy Simpson had to walk… Continue reading

Most Read