Life will soon return to the former BeatBox space at 314 11th St., as it prepares to become Halcyon, a new entertainment venue run by a local nightlife veteran.
The space’s new owner, Gina Milano, said it was on her radar for awhile. Over the past two decades, she’s owned and operated a handful of restaurants and nightclubs around San Francisco, including Le Club, a faux members-only club in Nob Hill; Bambuddha Lounge, a precursor to Chambers in the Phoenix Hotel; and Restaurant Maroc, an Upper Haight lounge serving Moroccan-Californian food and cocktails.
Most recently, she worked next door, helping Audio nightclub and its sister bar, Bergerac, get off the ground. The owners of BeatBox knew that she was looking to branch out on her own again, and as soon as they were ready to sell, they called her up.
Rather than simply launching a nightclub, Milano sees this new venue as an opportunity to employ a wide variety of highly creative people.
“I love being entertained, and I love hyper-creative people, and I love being hyper-creative,” she said.
On Friday and Saturday nights, Halcyon will be a dance club, with electronic DJs and semi-live performances. But in the vein of nearby Public Works, Milano also plans to host weekly entertainment events like a Wednesday-night cabaret, complete with live dance performances, booths with bottle service and 56 cabaret tables.
She’s also considering hosting dance classes on certain nights, including different types of line dancing in the evening and yoga-dance classes that will keep the space active during the day. And of course, Halcyon will be available for corporate and private events as well.
To accommodate all of these different uses, the layout and the lighting are being designed to allow the space to easily transform from one offering to another.
With brick walls and a steel support structure, it’s a “very tough, raw, industrial-looking space,” so Milano and her team are working to give it a “nice shiny veneer,” she said. LED lights are being added to the support beams, and she’s installing a “state-of-the-art” projection mapping system.
“I’m single-handedly keeping LED producers in China at work right now,” Milano joked, describing the look of the finished space as “a tough bitch in designer clothing.”
Choosing a name that symbolized her wide-ranging offerings wasn’t easy, but Halcyon has many relevant meanings, Milano said. It’s “a cool word” that’s used to refer to blissful, carefree memories or a golden era, as well as the name of a popular dance record store in Brooklyn, where visiting DJs in the ’80s and ’90s would commonly stop in before shows.
It’s also the name of two different birds: one from Greek mythology, and the other, Halcyonidae, a family of the African Kingfisher. The latter bird will grace one wall of the venue, in the form of an abstract mural.
If all goes according to plan, Milano said, Halcyon will host its first private parties during Halloween weekend, and open to the public for the first time on the weekend of Nov. 5th-6th.