Jermaine O'Neal talks up new nightspot

Steve Hammer

Steve Hammer's Blog

Jermaine O'Neal and John Wade have collaborated on Seven, which opens Dec. 30.

Jermaine O'Neal is an All-Star basketball player, philanthropist and businessman. Now, you can add "nightclub owner" to the list, too.

His club, Seven, 6235 N. Guilford Ave., opens Dec. 30, and it's not the kind of nightspot Indianapolis is accustomed to seeing.

Admission is $10 for men, free for women.

It's the kind of spot you'd see in Miami or Vegas, with canopies, beds and an exclusive VIP area. But being different is the whole point, he said in a recent interview with NUVO.

NUVO: What made you want to go into the nightclub business?

O'Neal: I've been thinking about this for three years. But I'm a thinker. I like to take the time to figure out the best-case scenario for myself, especially business-wise. I went to Lulu's, which is John Wade's club, and we started talking. I wanted to do something a little on the risky side.

And the Seven Lounge is something that this city has never seen. It's more of a big-city club. Here, it's either one way or another. There's no in-between, as far as the mixing of people.

This club gives you every aspect you could want. The first floor is a bed area. It's for leisure mode, when you want to kick back and have a couple drinks. It's built for small parties. There are illuminated tables you can dance on. If you want to watch the Pacers or Colts game, there's plasma TVs behind the bars.

The second level is the dance floor. We have canopies that dancers can dance on top of.

The third area is the private booth area. That's the VIP area. You get the music, you get that same atmosphere, but it's private. Everything is built for groups, so it won't have to be just you and someone else.

We have dress codes. It's not anything severe, like in some cities. You have to wear jeans for guys and a collar shirt. No tennis shoes. No hats, no doo-rags, no sweatsuits. We want to make sure that people feel comfortable.

NUVO: This is one of the most segregated cities in the country. Talk about how you hope to bring people together with your club.

O'Neal: One thing I do bring to the table is that people understand me and the kind of person I am. I don't involve myself in certain parties around the city because I'm not that kind of person. I'm very conservative. But this city is so segregated, you don't want to be in either one of those crowds, because they're so separate. 6 [Lounge] touched on that. When they started, it was a nice, mixed crowd. But this club presents a lot of different things. We've put in snow machines, bubble machines. We have a hydraulic system that shoots down cold air; it can take the temperature from 140 to 30 in a matter of seconds. There's only one club in the country that has that, and that's Body English in Las Vegas. It's for the summertime.

NUVO: And there'll be ladies there, I take it.

O'Neal: Ladies all the time. Ladies all the time. That's why you don't want to charge women. You just let them in to have fun. The guys are really paying to see the club and see the women.

NUVO: Will you be inviting your teammates and other athletes to the club?

O'Neal: It won't just be basketball players and athletes. I have a home in L.A. I stay there in the off-season and I know a lot of movie stars and entertainers. My plan is, twice a month, bring in people that the general public doesn't see every day. I don't plan on doing parties just for athletes all the time, because that gets old. Not everybody watches basketball or sports. But everyone likes music and they watch TV. I want the actors and actresses to come in and host a party. That's what this club is all about, surprises.

There are a lot of hard workers here. This is one of the hardest working states I've ever seen. Economically, the last five or six years have been a struggle in Indianapolis. You want to give them an opportunity to let their hair down and not take all the money out of their pockets.

My partner and I want to bring in something extremely nice and we want to make it affordable and comfortable for the people.

For more information or to make reservations, call 317-257-0707.

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