June 30, 2009
Prime Lounge, 104 W. Main St., was full of reality-show royalty this past
The club welcomed several reality TV contestants who were in town for the Kentuckiana Police and Fireman's Benefit Saturday at the Galt House.
The personalities included Erinn Lobdell from "Survivor," and Jen Hoffman and Eric Sanchez from "The Amazing Race."
Joey Wagner, aka J-Dub, has opened his late-night lounge on Main Street
November 22, 2008
“It is like having three different places under one roof,” says Joey Wagner, aka J-Dub, owner of the newly opened Prime lounge (104 W. Main St., 587-7463), successor at the site to Main Street Lounge and before that, Sparks.
The front part of the bar boasts white leather sofas perfect for – what else? – lounging with friends and sipping Dom Perignon. (Prime is the only place in Kentucky where one can partake of such bubbly by the glass.)
Venture farther back and find the dance floor with DJ booth, often home to some of the hottest in the biz, such as DJ Vice. And when the Dom and the dancing have your head spinning, the outdoor vine-covered patio provides a lovely reprieve.
Locally grown Wagner, 20, has several special Prime events up his sleeve. “I want people in Louisville to have an exciting nightlife,” he says.
photo by:Michael Hayman
Party promoter Joey "J-Dub" Wagner is the face of a new upscale lounge
By Angie Fenton
Monday, August 4, 2008
For years, Joey Wagner has pounded the pavement, including the figurative streets of cyberspace, promoting parties and events for other people.
Now he's ready to strike out on his own.
On Aug. 15, Wagner ? who's also known as "J−Dub," although he now prefers to be called by his given name? will open the doors to Prime Lounge.
"There's nothing wrong with throwing parties for other people and making them money. But it can only take you so far.
"I'm taking it to the next level," he says.
Wagner will continue to coordinate special events, such as the Derby Week Bowl for the Roses charity event he co−chairs with good friends jockey Robby Albarado and Atlanta Falcons quarterback Chris Redman. But he says he's done promoting parties at other nightspots.
"I've been doing it for a long time for the other people. Why not do it for me now? That is the ultimate goal as a promoter."
Wagner says he has financed the upscale venue with two silent investors.
"I'm the name and the face, and they're kind of behind the scenes," he says.
Prime Lounge is at 104 W. Main St. "The biggest thing on the location was the arena and Todd Blue's project going across the street," he said, referring to the planned downtown arena and to Iron Quarter, a $50million shopping−and−office complex Blue, the president and CEO of Cobalt Ventures, is developing.
"It's the most prime location in the city, hence the name, Prime Lounge," says Wagner, 29.
The ultra−chic facility will feature "the original brick, really cool lighting, really cool artwork, upscale white leather furniture and dark wood" up front. In the back, the atmosphere has "a futuristic look, real industrial."
There's a double−decker outdoor patio and DJ booth Wagner plans to fill on a regular basis with regionally and nationally known names "to keep it fresh."
He's not exactly putting the master's degree in sports marketing he earned from Morehead State University at age 23 to direct use ? for the moment ? but Wagner is quickly becoming a connoisseur of night life.
"I'm learning so much ... and we've got a really, really good wine list," he said.
Prime will also offer signature cocktails, VIP bottle service and Dom Pérignon by the glass.
"Prime Lounge is a dress−to−impress venue," says Wagner, noting the 24−karat gold logos on the front door.
Not so long ago, Wagner used to promote parties that offered the allure of booze and babes and not much else. "Upscale" wasn't in his lexicon then. He learned how to "hustle" when he spent summers between college semesters in New York City bunking with a friend.
"We were 19−, 20−year−old kids running around the city ... telling people about our parties," he recalls.
But competing with so many other promoters in such a big city was a daunting task, so Wagner sought his master's degree.
"He went through college in five straight years and got his (degrees) playing two sports and kept great grades, and I think that was a huge accomplishment for him," says his mother, Glenda Wagner.
Aside from his education, Wagner says he is most proud about being a father to 15−month−old Jaden with wife, Nikki Wagner.
"Today was the craziest day ever, but me walking into the house and seeing Jaden smiling, that just washes it all away," he says. "No matter what time I get home, I'm getting up with Jaden at 7 a.m. Regardless."
Nikki Wagner is expecting a second child in April, and that has provided her husband with even more motivation.
"Having to provide for them just drives me to be more successful," he says.
After a decade in the business, Joey Wagner is starting to see real fruits from his labors as head of J−Dub Entertainment.
In addition to continuing to promote and design events for Fortune 500 companies and the upcoming opening of Prime, Wagner has partnered with his mother−in−law, Maureen Uhlin, and placed Maureen's Creations under the J−Dub Entertainment umbrella.
Uhlin is an artist who makes Derby hats and fascinators. "These things are amazing," Wagner says. "She also does interior decorating, faux finishing, murals and faux stained glass."
She's created much of the artwork in Prime, too. "She's amazing. When people start seeing her work, that company is going to explode," he predicts.
"I have a lot of respect for what he does," says local businessman Jonathan Blue, chairman and managing director of Blue Equity Blue, who has known Wagner since 2004. "We entertain a lot of our out−of−town guests at Joey's events."
A lounge is " just a very difficult business," Blue says. "But if anyone will be successful, he will."
Wagner has no doubt. "When you walk out of one of my events or you walk out of Prime Lounge, you're going to want to come back ? guarantee."
He welcomes the "haters" who say he's trying to be "the big city promoter" in Louisville.
"I've heard people say, 'J−Dub tries to throw parties like he's in L.A. or in Miami or he's in Vegas.' But you know, for 10 years, it's worked," Wagner says. "I'm Louisville, Ky., but I've learned a lot from my friends in other cities, and it's worked here." Besides, he adds, "If you're not doing something right, you're not going to have criticism. That's just jealousy."
Wagner acknowledged he's worked hard for what he has but concedes, "I've been really, really lucky to have my finger on the city's pulse. ... I hear the good. I hear the bad."
He's also been smart enough to know what to do with it.
Donna Tavoso, division vice president of creative services and special projects for Playboy, met Wagner during the 50th −anniversary tour of the men's mag.
"He got everyone going and buzzing about our (event)," she says.
Wagner was one of the first people Tavoso called prior to holding the first Derby Eve Crown Royal Playboy Lounge in Louisville.
"Everything he said (about the city) was exactly on target to what we needed to know," she says. "Not only
did he deliver amazingly at Derby, he just delivers, and he does it in a nice and positive way."
In addition to helping with marketing and promotion when Playboy comes to town, Wagner often makes connections between people and corporations "even where there's not this direct benefit line to Joey," Tavoso says. "We really value our relationship with him."
During a late−night phone conversation with an early wake−up call looming, Wagner sounded less energetic than normal, but just as intense as always.
"I've always wanted to be that guy that, when people want to create an unbelievable event for their companies, they call me. And they do," he says. "Now I have my own venue ? a really nice venue ? to design these events for businesses."
Wagner pauses to stifle a yawn. "I think back in the day people probably thought J−Dub Entertainment was a joke, but it's not anymore."
Wagner yawns again and says he used to believe sleep was a luxury rather than a necessity when there were parties to plan and money to be made. But friend and mentor Glenn Hogan, founder, president and chief executive officer of Hogan Real Estate, recently changed his mind.
"He told me, 'Your goal in life is to be making money while you're sleeping. That's when you know you made it,'" Wagner says. "That's like the best advice I've ever got."
Reporter Angie Fenton can be reached at (502) 582−7143.
photo by:Frankie Steele
By Jacob Glassner
Wednesday, 20 August 2008
After 10 years of promoting events all around town, Joey Wagner has a place to call home.
Last weekend, Wagner opened Prime Lounge, an upscale club at 104 W. Main St.
“This has been a work in progress for 10 years,” said Wagner, 29. “Louisville needs its own locally-owned upscale lounge.”
Wagner financed the project with two silent investors, and he plans to hold special events on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights with DJs from around the country. Some nights you might find a bluesman playing acoustic guitar.
“I want to create an atmosphere … that when you walk out of Prime, you can’t wait to come back,” he said.
Prime’s front room has exposed brick walls, hardwood floors and custom-made white leather furniture. Four flat-screen TVs hang above a bar area that incorporates steel beams from the recently imploded Humana building.
Prime will be the only bar in Kentucky to serve Dom Perignon by the glass, Wagner said. Customers may also call and reserve tables in advance.
The lounge’s back room has a look that Wagner calls “industrial and futuristic.” It has chrome elements on the walls and LED lighting, as well as a second bar.
Wagner expects customers to range in age from 21 to 50.
The origin of the lounge’s name was simple.
“It’s the most prime location in the city right now, with the new arena coming downtown and Todd Blue’s Iron Quarter project across the street,” Wagner said.
Wagner, who is known by many around town as “J-Dub,” plans to hold his J-Dub Entertainment events at the lounge, including his annual birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve bashes.
Wagner said that the lifespan of a typical club is two to three years, but his years of promoting events has shown him what makes clubs succeed or fail.
“The No. 1 reason why they don’t last is customer service,” he said. “You’ve gotta take care of your customers.”
For details, visit primeloungeky.com.
photo by:Michael Hayman
This chic new club is relaxed and upscale
Javacia N. Harris
September 5, 2008
’m a girl who loves to dance. But sometimes when I hit the scene I’m simply looking for a classy place to sit back, listen to music and enjoy conversation and cocktails. This upscale, yet relaxing atmosphere is exactly what I found at Prime Lounge.
After making a name for himself as one of the city’s top party promoters hosting events at venues like Lucky Strike, Saints/SkyBar and others, Joey “J-Dub” Wagner decided to step out and start a club of his own. He opened the doors of Prime Lounge last month.
My dancing shoes are no stranger to J-Dub parties and I usually have a great time when my high heels take me to one of his events. But on a recent Saturday night I was looking for something a bit more low-key. Having missed the big grand opening party, I wasn’t sure what to expect at Prime.
When my husband and I arrived around 11 p.m. a good crowd had already filed in, but the place wasn’t packed yet, which was fine by us. This meant we didn’t have to scream at each other to exchange words or stand in a long line at the bar.
Prime offers a long wine list and more than 20 different kinds of martinis, some of which are named after athletes like Louisville native and Atlanta Falcons quarterback Chris Redman and jockey Robby Albarado — both of whom are always in attendance at Wagner’s Derby parties
Wagner says the dress code at his new club is “dress to impress” and if you aren’t up to par, even the décor will put you to shame. With chic and modern lighting, wood flooring, and plush white leather furniture, the décor at Prime Lounge lets you know immediately this is a place for the grown and sexy crowd.
Patrons mingled about this club of casual elegance with ease. Prime turned out to be what I was looking for after all.
If the spirit hits you, there’s usually a DJ on deck Wednesday through Sunday. And on this night some folks did make their way to the dance floor. But I decided to find a seat on the outdoor patio and enjoy the music from there. Many other patrons had the same idea. My husband and I and other couples and groups of friends relaxed on the patio and had good, grown-folk fun.
Though the crowd on this night wasn’t as diverse as those at J-Dub parties I’ve frequented in the past, the music didn’t lack variety at all. Tunes went beyond today’s Top 40 and even some old school tracks like Salt-n-Pepa’s “Shoop” were in the mix. I think I embarrassed my husband when I started rapping along to this song, but what can I say. That’s my jam.
Drink specials include $5 bottles of wine on Wednesday and signature martinis for half-price from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday. On Friday, Prime offers $3 Maker’s Mark and $5 Imperial Premium vodka drinks.
Prime Lounge is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. Wednesday through Friday and 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Go to primeloungeky.com for more info.