For years, Club Manhattan has been in some ways a missed opportunity to have another successful club in downtown. Owners have come and gone over the past eight years, with few of them even attempting an opening, making it appear as if the space
was a loss. Flash forward to this past weekend, where the newly renamed 4 Below launched a successful opening, putting a fresh all-ages dance club onto the scene. Today we chat with the co-owners of the new venue and talk about their plans for the future. (All pictures courtesy of 4 Below.
Ryan Hoover & Steve Singleton
Gavin: Hey guys, first thing, tell us a bit about yourselves.
I was born here in Salt Lake, but spent most of my youth in Georgia. I’m a true southerner at heart and love the idea of making Salt Lake City home to a new club.
I was born and raised her in Salt Lake, love the city and all that this state has to offer. I also have an addiction to amazing lighting and think all things look better in a club.
Prior to this new venture, what work had you both done with bars and clubs?
I have a passion for clubs and dancing, and even opened a few clubs in the past. I enjoy the energy and fast pace of the night life scene. This is Ryan’s first leap into the club scene, but with a love of design and art
he was intrigued and challenged by the idea of opening a club, and the myriad of fun things you can do to keep your club fresh and ever-evolving.
When did the two of you meet each other and become friends?
We met a few years ago and were impressed by each other’s work ethic and willingness to try new things. This is our second time working with each other; we started Affinity Limousine together,
and thought this was a great time to grow something new.
What made you decide to go in on a dance club together?
We have been talking about opening another club for years now, and thought Salt Lake needed an all-ages venue with age-specific nights. By pure luck, the day we started looking for a space,
Club Manhattan came on the market.
We thought the younger crowds in the area were under-represented in the downtown club scene, and we wanted to make a space where people who were younger, or those who did not drink, could feel like they had a place to cut loose and have fun outside of a “bar” setting.
What was it about the location that made you decide to take it over?
The initial walk-through was a bit daunting for sure; it was rather dark and neglected after being closed for so long. But we both were excited by the history of the space, the retro feel of some of the features (like the phone booths) and the great location.
Over the last few years, this location has tried to start back up a couple times with previous owners, and fell through. What was the state of the bar and facilities in when you took it over?
It wasn’t in ideal condition, which is to be expected after being closed for the amount of time it has been. There were numerous cosmetic and cleaning projects that had to be done before we could start making the space into something people would be excited to get into. During the renovation
we uncovered amazing floors original to the space,
hand-tiled 106-year-old floors that give a wink to the past around the dance floor. We love the idea of such an historic
space being rejuvenated for the youth of Utah.
What was it like for you to bring the place up to where you wanted it and redesigning it?
It was a lot of work. We spent every waking moment we could spare in the space,
trying to make decisions that would not only update the look,
but be respectful to its amazing longevity and history. We wanted to make sure that you knew this space had seen a lot,
but wanted it to be appealing to a new generation as well. The great thing about this club is that it can always be added to and changed to keep the experience new and exciting, and we hope to keep pushing ourselves to keep the club a living thing.
When you first started working out the plans, what kind of music and DJs did you want to showcase?
We thought it was important to keep 4 Below up tempo
and fun. Dance music and Top 40 is what we would like to be known for, but we will mix in other nights to keep thing exciting and new.
You just had your grand opening. What were your thoughts going in, and what did you think of the success?
Opening weekend was a whirlwind of color and sound, just like any good dance club should be. There were the obvious jitters and nerves and last-minute fixes, but pretty soon we got into the groove (pun intended) and had a great time. We could not be more grateful to the people who showed up and showed their support of our hard work.
Over the next few months, what's the nightly schedule people can expect to see?
We are currently open Friday and Saturday night from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. We will be open 4-5 nights a week by the summer by adding theme nights, like a “Retro Replay” night, for example, with other live events early in the evenings. We have a full schedule online at our website.
Are you looking to incorporate any live music, performances or comedy in the near future? Or mainly keeping this a dance club for now?
The Club Manhattan Building (now 4 Below) has been graced by some amazing performers, and we would love to keep with that tradition. As part of the USO Tour during World War II, we had many greats from that era like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in the space.
We like the idea of floor shows, performances, parties
and bands all bringing that life back into the club. Utah has an endless supply of talented people, and we want to give them a platform to get their work out there for more people to enjoy. If anyone would like to perform at 4 Below that can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org
What can we expect from 4 Below over 2016?
We want to be a place where people can come and have an amazing time. We want to keep the space clean and inviting and consistently new. We want to showcase great talent from around the area. Overall we just want to throw open the doors and welcome everyone in to enjoy.