INDUSTRY INSIDER: CHICAGO'S DISCO NIGHTCLUB'S DANIEL ALONSO PAYS TRIBUTE TO THE CITY'S
DISCO Nightclub is bringing Chicago's rich dance history back into their culture's nightlife scene. Daniel Alonso, the founder of the nightclub, is bringing a unique edge to the world of entertainment, and the club is an absolute stunner that caters to the best of the best in their city.
In a world of clubs, this location stood out as something truly special, so we knew we had to sit down with Alonso to learn more.
How did you start your career in the nightlife business?
After a (successful) career in management consulting and real estate development, I decided to pursue a lifelong passion of mine by investing all my savings and entering the hospitality industry in 2006. Over the last 11 years, I have immersed myself in multiple facets of the hospitality industry, including, concept development, design and build, operations management and finance, marketing and promotions, liquor licensing, and construction administration.
In this time I founded Bonhomme Hospitality Group, a full service hospitality design, development and management company. My team and I have created, co-owned and operated some of Chicago's favorite hospitality venues, recognized for their critically-acclaimed designs and award-winning food and beverage programs. Today, this diverse group of concepts includes Black Bull (Spanish Restaurant), Bordel (Cocktail Bar & Cabaret), Celeste (Cocktail Bar & Restaurant), Disco (retro 1970’s Dance Club), and Fulton Market Kitchen (Contemporary American Restaurant).
Bonhomme Hospitality’s distinctive concepts have been lauded in local and national press for their cuisine, craft beverage programs, and inventive art-focused interiors and dedication to detail.
What is the best part of working in this industry?
I adore every aspect of this industry. The diversity of your team and guests. The need to combine several academic disciplines and professional specializations in order to implement strategy and solve problems. The endless challenges and problem solving. The endless opportunities for creativity. The humility, warmth and hospitality. Speaking with dozens (sometimes hundreds) of different individuals on a daily basis. The food. The drinks. The music. The changing habitats. I can go on and on.
What are the biggest challenges?
Keeping all of the above plates “spinning”.
What career advice would you give to someone just starting off?
DON’T DO IT! I always suggest that individuals take a measured look at the business. Do they have the patience and stamina? At the risk of appearing to “crush their own dreams”, I suggest that individuals stress test their idea(s) through the ruthless application of sound business fundamentals? I love art, but art cannot be entirely untethered from the reality of a business’s demands.
As the industry continues to grow, what do you think the secrets to longevity in the business will be? How does music contribute to the longevity of DISCO?
Keeping all of the plates “spinning” while also remembering that all that we do is to I think that above all else, creating great vibes and memories for our guests is the secret to longevity. To that end, music, is at the heart of this endeavor, because it so profoundly affects our senses and triggers our nostalgia. When speaking of longevity, it also helps to keep those “plates spinning”.
Describe the process of becoming involved in the electronic music industry (with the conception/opening of DISCO).
DISCO captures the decadence of the 1970s, summoning the “anything-goes” attitude, ecstatic, nonstop, all-night dancing, energized by music from DJ’s mixing multiple genres.
Music is at the very heart of DISCO, with Funk, Soul, Latin, House and re-mixes of everything from ABBA to Blondie, Donna Summer, Giorgio Moroder, Chic & Nile Rodgers, Cerrone and much more, providing the beats for impressive high-profile DJ lineups and residencies.