Q&A with John Ban of Lounge 54

Brewstone Beer Company gets the VIP treatment.

A new lounge aimed at young professionals opened its doors last weekend. Lounge 54, located inside Brewstone Beer Company (3720 E. 82nd St., 317-577-7800), aims to fill a void within Indianapolis nightlife scene by attracting career-minded individuals and local celebrities. Ben Priest, general manager of Brewstone, got in touch with long-time friend John Ban to create an intimate place for young professionals to unwind.

Who is John Ban? After a successful career as a local DJ, Ban moved to Los Angeles in 2007. One Southern California trend he couldn’t help but notice was the food truck revolution taking over the West Coast. In 2010, he returned to Indy to start West Coast Tacos. Ban sold West Coast Tacos and started NY Slice, another food truck operation that now has two trucks feeding hungry patrons in the Circle City.

We picked his brain on his most recent project.

Shana Ngo: On a Saturday night, whom do you expect to see here?

John Ban: Right now, we have Jared Fogle, the Subway guy. We have Dave Smiley from WZPL. And then you see a lot of young business professionals—people who are career-minded. I think it’s more of a place for people with careers to mingle with other people who are career-driven, rather than people who are in college or working part-time jobs.”

SN: It’s an intimate setting, but you’ve designed it so that it’s comfortable.

JB: The design was a lot of Ben’s idea. He set the atmosphere. There’s a small dance floor.  We didn’t want a big room—it’s not a nightclub. But as the hours continue, it turns into a dance party.

SN: What is the significance of the name, Lounge 54?

JB: It’s a derivative of Studio 54.

SN: How exclusive is Lounge 54? How strict is the dress code?

JB: It’s not so much the dress code. We obviously want people to dress nicely, but it’s about being invited—being on the list. A lot of the major cities have this type of scene, and it’s just something that Indianapolis has always been lacking.