During the day, downtown Blacksburg is a family-friendly locale, but at night, it transforms into an environment for of-age college students — something one business is trying to change.
A group of Virginia Tech students have taken over management at O’s Lounge, located at 204 Draper Rd., changing it into an 18-and-over club.
Michael Chang, a junior computer science major, along with a group of dedicated friends is working to give the club a new image.
“It’s one of the best venues here in Blacksburg,” Chang said. “The owner hasn’t had enough time to manage it himself so we approached him about trying to create a new brand.”
Rebranding for change
In order to draw larger crowds, the club is hosting several events. Every Tuesday, O’s Lounge will feature jam bands for Ladies Night, Thursdays will feature electronic dance music and on “Turn it up” Fridays, the club will play a mix of hip-hop, top-40 and house music.
“We’re having awesome events, and people should come out,” Chang said. “It’s a guaranteed good time.”
The club’s headliner DJ DatBoi — a.k.a. Marcus Damon, a junior economics major — is another student dedicated to revamping O’s Lounge.
“We saw a void in pretty much all the downtown businesses for a place where everyone is able to party,” Damon said. “Most places cater to everyone that’s (over) 21. We just wanted to give an alternative.”
A renewed emphasis on incorporating Tech’s students of all ages is what sets O’s Lounge apart from other Blacksburg clubs.
“We want this place to be run and managed by people from Tech,” said Asad Yusupov, the club’s cook.
The new management, which went into effect Feb. 4, is working hard to enhance the club’s atmosphere.
Improvements include a new paint job and lighting set-up, but more important to club goers are the changes in music choices and drink prices.
Kayla Ferrari, a junior English major, is a fan of the changes.
“The old O’s played a lot of country,” Ferrari said. “But with (new management) taking over, it’s all house and dub step and EDM music, which is so much better. And their deals on drinks is unbelievable.”
Graydon Claflin, an O's Lounge bartender , said that his work at the club has incorporated his studies as well.
“Everything I learn in accounting, economics, marketing — I’ve incorporated it into what I do here,” said Claflin, a junior BIT major. “You can say ‘Yeah, I got an A on my test’ and then I went and made money because of that.”
While being a student and running an efficient business may seem like an impossible task, the new owners haven’t gone in empty handed — ideas for renovations have been in the works for a while.
“It was a blessing that we all got here at the same time with the same ideas,” Damon said.
The club’s cook and headlining DJ have both been working at O’s Lounge since before the new management got involved and are happy with the way things are changing.
“The idea to make this place better has existed for some time,” Yusupov said. “Michael’s team has just sparked that flame.”
Balancing Work and Play
Beyond the layer of new paint and improved dance music, the true change for O’s Lounge is the team that put the changes into place.
“We’re really working hard to get this place in shape,” Damon said. “We promise to make every week better than the last.”
Ferrari commended the new management’s work effort. She said their hard work is evidenced by the vastly different atmosphere.
“Everything that we’ve done, we’re enjoying it,” Chang said. “The best part about it is I know at the end of the night people are leaving and they had a good time.”