We got the opportunity to sit down with Mike Truong the owner of YOLO lounge the newest Restaurant/lounge to hit the downtown Portland Area! The lounge features very slick modern furniture with amazing lighting and a great relaxed vibe across the venue. The staff is amazing and the drinks run strong so it was the perfect place for us to hit! Check out some questions I had for Mike before the soft opening of the lounge.
What made you want to open a lounge? And what have been some of the biggest challenges in keeping to your deadline to open?
One of my past jobs was marketing at a Commercial Real Estate firm. The niche that drew me to doing marketing for this company was the fact that it involved heavily in the hospitality field; restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. I’ve worked on many deals involving first time business owners and saw how much work it involved but at the same time how much it paid off in the end. Every job is a challenge and with YOLO presenting me an opportunity, I felt I was able to apply what I learned and experienced to this venue. Some of the challenges included contractor deadlines as well as permits for various things. We had plenty of time but we were working on the city’s time which proved to be difficult at certain stages but everything worked out in the end.
YOLO ( You only live once ) its a very unique name for a lounge / club how did you come up with it ?
My business partner, Chris McKinney, came up with the name for the venue. The acronym of YOLO, You Only Live Once, lives true to many of us. We believe in our product that we are offering to consumers and want our clientele to enjoy and experience what we have created.
Rewind 10 years ago what where you up to ?
I was in high school and was given the opportunity by a great friend of mine to explore the business side of the music industry. Before I left high school to go to college, I was working with Interscope A&M and later transitioned to Atlantic and Island Def Jam which led me to the parent company Universal Music Group. Years later, I was offered a positioned by the Portland Trail Blazers. After 2 seasons, I decided to take a different route and work for a smaller marketing/PR firm. I worked with a client at our company and was able to lead them to award shows such as the Grammys, MTV Music Awards, and more.
The Portland night has a large list of options for every type of person imaginable , how do you want YOLO lounge to distinguish its self from the other clubs/ lounges?
YOLO Lounge is a setting where anyone can come to relax and enjoy good food & drinks. By creating an atmosphere for all to enjoy, we’re able to cater to all varieties of demographics as Portland is a very diverse city. YOLO Lounge is simply an effortless fusion of restaurant and lounge coupled with events and networking, blending together to make a seamless array of a ambiance in a venue. By continuing to build around our patrons, we’re able to provide service more on a personal level but at the same time keeping intact the importance of quality service.
You have the opportunity to open up another lounge anywhere in the world where’s the first place you would pick ?
With the right amount of capital in a market such as this, I would love to go back to my hometown Chicago and start something there. When it comes to diversity, Chicago is known for its wide array of food and drink selections. It’s amazing how you can go from one block to another and experience a different scene that is fun, exciting, and inviting.
Whats one thing you wish you knew before opening up this Lounge ?
I expected a lot of things as this is my 3rd venue. One thing I wish I would’ve reminded myself before doing this was how quickly tired someone can be after really long hours. Spending 15-18 hours a day making sure things goes correctly during operation can get to you quick.
Ya , Julie Pierce (Interior Designer ) , Frank Bocchetti ( Contractor ) and Platinum Records !