Washington Life Magazine
Washington Life Magazine

“Fly” First Class
A night out can become a story unto itself – what a concept
Aspen, with its lofty peaks, is literally a “great height” from which to launch a concept nightclub. More intimate than the New York or L.A. club scene, this ultra-high end mountain mecca ironically doesn’t have many sophisticated places to chill. It does now, thanks to Fly Lounge co-owners Richard Eidman and Chuck Koch. The pairs’ second lounge, appropriately named Fly Aspen (426 E. Hyman Ave, Aspen, Colo.) had a snowy and star-studded launch during the X-Games in February (more on that in a bit).
Club co-owner Britt Swann first spotted the venue and phoned Eidman and Koch, who have now formed the Volér Group (clever: it’s a variation on the French verb meaning “to fly”) to help oversee their expanding portfolio of properties, which include Fly Lounge, Fly Aspen, and Current (1215 Connecticut Ave. NW), opening next month. Eidman and Koch wisely saw the potential in opening a premier nightlife destination in this exclusive ski town. “Plus,” says Koch, “I love to snowboard.” Building a high-end nightclub two times zones away meant a lot of actual flying time for the nightlife impresarios.
The work has paid off. With Fly Aspen, the Volér Group has built on its sound reputation (pun intended) for developing international quality nightlife destinations. Their attention to detail is on display at Current. Unlike the cozy confines of Fly Lounge, Current is expansive. Take one look at the lounge’s workmanship and creativity and you get a feeling that Koch and Eidman view their properties as much as pieces of art as plush haunts for trendsetters. “The music from the DJ audio-activates sails in the ceiling, which create a wave-like current effect,” says Eidman.
Other tasteful touches include a bar top made of individually-crafted wooden pieces, which give the effect of a chic jigsaw puzzle; projector screens in the upstairs VIP bathroom that continually show images of idyllic beach scenes; and four-foot light structures filled with water, which – like the sails on the ceiling – move to the rhythm of the music, adding to the “current” motif. Embedded in the floor – between the lower and upper levels of the club – three 4’ by 4’ water “features,” which will be clear on both sides, will enchant guests. And, yes, there is sushi – lots of it, served from an illuminated bar designed by Eidman and Koch. But the crème de la crème are the “electrostatic” glass bathroom doors that turn opaque when occupied and then revert to clear when empty.
Now that is “fly.” Back at Fly Aspen, the Volér Group’s Colorado artistry was on full display in February in a series of exclusive events hosted by Sal Masekela and attended by snowboarder Shaun White and a who’s who of the 2008 Winter X Games. The first was a kickoff party for the games, where the annual contest’s much-celebrated helmets – which are custom painted for the Games
– were given to the athletes. The second was a birthday party for Olympic snowboarding champion Hannah Teeter, who chose Fly Aspen to celebrate her 21st birthday and support two charities, Hannah’s Gold (whose Vermont Maple Syrup proceeds are dedicated to poor children in the community of Kirindon, Kenya) and the Chill Foundation (a non-profit snowboarding school for at-risk city kids). The night was sponsored by Louis Vuitton/Möet Hennessy, who kept the Belvedere Vodka flowing. Could TV be in the future for Eidman and Koch as well? Perhaps influenced by the stars who frequent their properties (Rosario Dawson, Jamie Foxx, Beenie Man, Chris Tucker and Quincy Jones, to name just a few) the pair have their sights set on their own on-camera fame.
Discovery Channel has begun filming (and, if our sources are correct, quite a few other major networks are interested in shopping) a reality television series about the trials and tribulations of club owners. Raising the Bar is currently in final edits. The show will take a behind-the-scenes look at the good life and hard work of the Volér Group. This includes footage of Koch and Eidman taking employees for spins on a plane (Koch is a licensed pilot) and attending the Giants-Dolphins game in England (all expenses paid) thanks to Snow Queen Vodka.
NIGHT MOVES: Mate owner Osmar Núñez recently flew to Shanghai to research concepts for a potential club venture in Chinatown. Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine was spotted recently at Michael Romeo’s ’80s hotspot Tattoo Lounge (1413 K St. NW). And at Michael Saylor’s birthday at French-inspired lounge Josephine (Vermont Ave. and K St.) in February, the biz wiz picked up the tab for the entire bar.
Have a comment or know a great nightlife event? Let us know: columns@washingtonlife.com.


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