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How D.C. Nightclub Mogul David S. Chung Runs His Venues Like a Law Firm

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January 07, 2022 23:54 IST
D.C.NightclubMogulDavidS.Chung

Pulsating lights, bottles of booze, and beautiful people gyrating on the dancefloor; when one thinks of nightclubs, the mind likely conjures up debaucherous images such as these. Much less often does the word ‘responsible’ appear in the psyche in relation to nightlife, but when it comes to Washington D.C. club magnate David Chung’s mega-popular establishments, there’s no better way to describe the behind-the-scenes operations of his businesses.

When running his buzzy venues like Dupont Circle’s 5,000 square foot behemoth St. Yves and freshly renovated luxury lounge Abigail, Chung taps into an unparalleled area of expertise many fellow nightclub owners lack: his legal background. Having acquired a law degree from the renowned University of Virginia School of Law, Chung practiced the trade professionally before joining a different kind of bar, bringing his legal know-how with him.

The former lawyer’s first foray into nightlife was only meant to be temporary, beginning after the last Asian nightclub in the D.C. area shuttered its doors; as Korean Americans, Chung and his mentor-turned-partner decided to fill this void themselves with their own nightlife venue Daedalus. Initially, Chung's plan was to lawyer during the week and run Daedalus on the weekends to escape the grind of lawyering, but that quickly changed when the city's top promoters heard about Daedalus and soon persuaded Chung to open more than two nights a week. The duo’s business plan was completely flipped on its head from there on, as the enterprise exceeded the partners’ wildest expectations.

Daedalus' roaring success gave Chung and his partner the courage to take it to the next level with the legendary K Street Lounge, which ironically was located in the same office building where Chung interned as a law student. Quickly becoming a Downtown mainstay, K Street Lounge received national attention as D.C.'s first Vegas-like bottle service venue. Unbeknownst to them at the time, the duo’s new venture would ultimately change D.C. nightlife forever, ushering in an inspired new era of exclusive and high-revenue table service to the region.

Chung’s by-the-books approach to the administration aspect of clubs has turned his boutique venues into the area’s most in-demand and respected locales across all demographics, successfully launching over half a dozen establishments throughout the years. His legal background has made Chung’s venues a landlord’s dream, as why else would national REITs and owners of D.C. historic buildings allow Chung to open nightclubs in their prized assets? Indeed, his reputation as a dependable and responsible operator has resulted in the longevity of Chung’s venues at their original locations, much to the pleasure of their patrons.

Likewise, as the party rages upfront, Chung’s nightclubs hold accountability as paramount behind the scenes. The top-talent staff are fully vetted upon recruitment and must be committed to the long-term; policies for employee and patron safety alike are implemented throughout the properties; and quarterly reports are sent out to his billionaire investors to keep them up to date of financials. In every way shape and form, Chung dots the i’s and crosses the t’s across all of his establishments, a nearly unheard of practice in the often laissez-faire club industry.

Frequented by celebrities, students and professionals of all types, Chung’s unique legal-minded approach to club operation has cemented his venues as the most trustworthy and sought-after choices for a night out in the D.C. area, where they are set to remain as fixtures for years to come.

 

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