Venue Spotlight: Kalin from Secret Lounge

    October 3, 2013

    There's a Secret Lounge in Flatiron where men of finance kick back, enjoy fine cigars and cocktails while playing poker from a global poker chip collection. Lately, this exclusive New York venue has gotten inquiries for all manor of events, both feminine and masculine. The man behind this Secret Lounge? Kalin Moon, Founder and Host at this incredibly unique event space. We recently talked to Kalin about his evolution into the events world, what makes Secret Lounge a different kind of venue experience, and the benefits of listing on Eventup.

    Tell me a little about your venue, Secret Lounge. What’s unique about it?
    We consider ourselves a "21st Century clubhouse" designed as an escape for the urban professional male. We're certainly not a mens club, our space is also enjoyed by our many female guests. When it comes to event space options, we are very unique. Typically when you rent an event space, you’re getting a box with an event planning team. With us you’re getting a space that feels more like a home with a professional hospitality team. The reason for this is our backstory. From 2011 to 2012 I hosted countless events at my home for friends and clients. I eventually outgrew hosting at my home and I couldn’t find an event space that was both comfortable and professional. People really enjoyed the vibe of my home, it felt like a special place that only hosted to invited guests. Your typical event space doesn't have that vibe, there’s no history, no personality and no love put into the space. When I opened my event space I actually brought a lot of personal items from my house that guests enjoyed. A cigar wrapper collection I started in high school, a poker chip collection from all over the world, books, and a humidor. For me it’s little things that make a place feel like home. The best compliment I’ve ever received from a guest was "I feel the love in the walls." This is the only space I’ve seen where people will clean off their shoes. People often sacrifice substance for style. We aim for comfort and service.

    How long have you owned or managed Secret Lounge?
    We took over the space September 2012 and took about three months to renovate. It was previously a men’s tailor shop. We’ve been up and running since November 2012.


    How long have you been in the events industry?
    Since I was 16 I suppose. I hosted parties throughout high school and college. The day after I turned 21, I opened a small lounge, which was a very good learning experience. I was never professionally trained, it just came naturally. I've always loved entertaining, working with people and organizing events.

    What are your favorite types of events at Secret Lounge?
    The ones that combine what I love. Live music, friendly poker, strong cocktails, good cigars and great people. The way I approach planning events is I put myself in my clients shoes. I try to first understand their overall goal for the event; why are they doing it and who are their guests. I’m very involved in the operation standpoint, making sure our guests are having a good time and they get everything they asked for. By the time the event comes around, I’m involved with the entire process of planning the event, I try to build friendships with every client we take on. We only do one event a week for our clients and most of our clients are repeat. So it's essential for me to build strong relationships with my clients. I try to know everything they like, everything they don’t like, their long and short term goals for having events. I want to help make my client look like a rockstar in the eyes of their guests.

    Do you have a favorite event that you’ve hosted there?
    We’re doing a "football brunch" this coming Sunday to kick off football season for a client that works in finance. We will have all the football games, a stellar chef, champagne sponsor, and a barber doing trims and hot shaves. They guys are going to be blown away.


    How has listing your venue with Eventup impacted your business?
    It’s helped us a lot; we’ve picked up some great clients. Eventup is the only space we list it on, a lot of our new clients come from there that we wouldn’t have necessarily met otherwise. It helps streamline things and get our clients prepared for meeting with us.

    Has Eventup helped to diversify the types of people or companies interested in your venue?
    It’s surprising, people have been interested in baby showers. We don't do baby showers. Our space is non-traditional, it’s very engaging, we have foosball, video games, board games, outdoor area for smoking, and most events revolve around the bar. We're extremely selective when deciding who to do events for. It really comes down to 1) do we want these people using our space, and 2) will this event work well in our space.

    What seems to be the most common type of client interested in your space?
    Finance without a doubt. Finance is a very male dominated work space. Banks, hedge funds, investment groups, real estate, etcetera.

    Secret venue tip that no one knows about your venue.
    We have a lot of secrets. Discretion is very important to our clients.

    What is your biggest challenge as a venue manager?
    Probably staff. It's hard to find staff who believe in what you’re doing, what they’re doing, to care about guests. It’s a people business. It’s the people part that’s really hard. They’re a part time job, and for me it’s my number one thing, so it’s hard to find staff that treat your space like it’s theirs. They have to buy into your goals and your mission as an event space.

    Great insight, Kalin! Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us. We hope your interview inspires others to list on Eventup. Request a quote today for Secret Lounge! For more venue spotlights, check out our interview with Amy and Ivan from metro37 or Julie from 404.