Cool and Eclectic // Inglewood Lounge
Do you ever debate whether to go out for drinks because why leave the comfort of your own home? Yeah, same.
Luckily, Inglewood Lounge exists as a your-home-but-cooler bar and hangout spot in East Nashville. When it came to the design, owner Dan Forberg aimed a large part of the focus on saving money. In doing so, many of the elements that make the space feel so naturally comfortable were the product of happenstance and kismet, resulting in a funky and eclectic hangout spot that pretty much nails the 70's vibes of our dreams.
How would you describe the style at Inglewood Lounge?
I’m really into lots of color and eclectic funkiness, and a lot of plants, obviously. It’s also a lot of DIY and refurbishing of things. My approach was to save a lot of money, really, and in doing that, requires it to be more of a conglomerate of various things.
But honestly, this is my first time designing anything. It was an old Mrs. Winner’s building, which is a chicken and biscuits fast food regional chain. So we still have that character, on the outside especially. Inside, I stripped it down to this bare bones concrete block and exposed ceiling. It’s funny, my approach with this was I didn’t want to redo the floors because that was a pain in the ass and expensive. So the colors and stuff got based off of the floor, which is kind of earthy. But it took a long time to come up with the design. Things just kind of stacked up on top of each other. I had a vision, and started that vision and it wasn’t panning out how I liked it — the color scheme was weird and it just didn’t fit. So I think we painted like three times in here at first and it just took a ton of time to find the vision.
There's a lot to designing a restaurant these days, and people spend so much money on that. I think its one of the reasons a lot of restaurants fail, because they spend too much money on the front end, on excessive s—t. I took time to do the renovations and the design in here and spent very little on materials and labor, and I believe that contributes to the success, or at least not the failure. Like, I built this bar and its just raw steel, it cost $30 a sheet. We have a disco ball from Amazon...instant party.
"Jeremy, our bartender, is super creative. He’s not done yet, but [the hand] is made of all the printer receipt paper and tickets from people’s bills."
What aspect of the design in here do you feel is the most important when creating the vibe?
I think lighting is really important. If you come here when the sun’s gone down, you can see that the lighting in here is even and yet somewhat dramatic. I pin spots on some of the tables and there's a lot of colored lights, and then I have this textured situation going on there [points to wood-woven light fixture]. The wallpaper is lit up. At night it looks totally different, it really glows with color. I think that adds a lot of value to the vibe. And the music sounds good. I'm really into funk and R&B and good, soulful music. That’s what usually gets played in here.
What was your favorite DIY project when pulling the interior together?
This is bringing back mostly nightmares. As far as design and decor goes, we built these tables, me and a friend of mine did. I give him more credit though, I couldn't have pulled it off myself - that’s some really good woodwork. Getting this bar set up the way I like it. Electrical, and back to the lighting. Being able to do electrical work saved me a lot of time and money. Well, it didn’t really save me time...
Whats your favorite part about owning your own business?
I’m working towards a goal of not having to do much work but still make good money. I’m very proud. And then there’s the goal of being proud, and proud of my employees. Constantly growing the business is rewarding.
If you weren’t running your own business, what would you be doing?
I’d be running my own business! I just signed off ever working for anyone else, ever. But, I would probably be in some sort of creative [work], doing some sort of furniture building or making music, but none of which is very possible. I can’t see myself not running my own business. I’ve always had my own businesses, even in like middle school. I had a DJ business in middle and high school and all through college. I always figured out a way to not work for someone else.
Make decisions more quickly and with confidence.
If you could give your younger self a piece of entrepreneurial advice, what would it be?
Make decisions more quickly, and know to be confident in them. The planning process can be real arduous, especially if you’ve never done a project before. So when I encountered all those things, it took me so long to make the decisions to pull the trigger and then get the project done. Looking back, I could have gotten a lot done more quickly. So, make decisions more quickly and with confidence. I always had the confidence, I just didn’t apply it in decision making. Like the gut instinct: this is the right thing to do, let’s do it.
Forberg says a slight renovation and design change is in the works to open up the floor plan and allow more seating, and there's also a patio area they're working on. Keep up with Inglewood Lounge by following them on Instagram or Facebook.