Hospitality entrepreneurs Ryan Seelbach and Eric Lund bring dynamic entertainment to Washington with new music venue.
By Sabrina Pinkney
Harvard Business School alumnus Ryan Seelbach knew that Washington D.C. would foster a high-end dining experience for D.C.’s elite, but his new venue breaks the mold. He and co-owner Eric Lund recently launched Buckeye + Bear, a venue that embraces the simplicity of an intimate environment with good food, music, entertainment and an artistic, yet comfortable ambiance. With its elegant chandelier hanging in the front entrance and collage of rock band posters covering the walls, this venue is the perfect combination of entertainment and hospitality.
The dance floor was filled a few days after the grand opening, as local band White Ford Bronco kept the night going and the dance floor filled. The vintage style stage decor and state-of-the-art sound and lighting system surrounding the area appeared to create an inviting and electric air in the room. Guests effortlessly picked up on the singers’ energy and nearly everyone in The Ballroom was dancing.
“Buckeye + Bear is the anti-exclusive nightclub concept,” Seelbach noted when asked why they decided to transform The Huxley, a nightclub, into Buckeye + Bear. “We believe in creating hospitality venues that are representative of the types of venues we like to spend our time in.” From the beginning of production to end, the owners were very hands on with the esthetic choices of their venue. Consisting of The Green Room, for the sports bar, and The Ballroom, for dancing, live music and more, Buckeye + Bear was somewhat inspired by their travels to places like Nashville, Tennessee and Austin, Texas.
“At my core, I really derive a lot of happiness by making other people happy, and I think that is the core of what the hospitality industry is all about,” Seelbach admitted about his business philosophy.
Based off the first impression of Buckeye + Bear, it is easy to see that these guys have seen and experienced enough to create a space that reflects that conviction so accurately. They have been involved, at one point or another, with nearly every kind of business available in Washington. Considering their friendly neighborhood restaurant, the Takoda Restaurant & Beer Garden, and their cutting edge nightclub, The Huxley, all of their previous ventures seem to be incorporated into their latest business. Taking from their previous groundwork in this industry, these owners are introducing a new style that creates an atmosphere of finesse and free spirited fun, with something for everyone.
“Out of college, for five years I worked in the National Football League. I spent a year working for the NFL league headquarters in New York and then I spent four years working in the front office of the Cleveland Browns in Cleveland,” Seelbach explained. “Ultimately, I decided that I really had an entrepreneurial spirit and I wanted to be a business owner.” Likewise, according to Seelbach, Lund is also well trained and personally motivated to run a business that has so many different offers for guests, including comedy nights, sports viewings, karaoke nights and live performances featuring local bands. Lund was the star goalie for the George Washington University men’s soccer team and spent a number of years marketing and promoting nightclubs before he gracefully made the jump to owning his own business. He partnered with Seelbach in 2012, and with their training, traveling and sports expertise, who better to trust for the perfect sports bar and music lounge?