BATON ROUGE, LA. (BRPROUD) — On Wednesday, the East Baton Rouge Metro Council held their zoning meeting to discuss the potential reopening of the former, “Club Dreams,” into a new bar. However, many business owners and some residents fear it will be problematic.
Located at 2083 Dallas Drive, off of South Choctaw Drive, is the Club Dreams nightclub. For a couple of decades, the club has been no stranger to crime and illegal activity. The club shut down and lost its liquor license during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Executive Director of Uplifted Nicole Walker looks over the women’s rehabilitation center and is worried about her parents if the club reopens.
Twenty years ago, Walker remembers dealing with law enforcement constantly with the club. She says we cannot have this bar open again for business.
“After our parties in our parking lot, where we would have drug paraphernalia, alcohol bottles, and condoms,” said Walker. “Left up for us to clean up in the morning.”
During the East Baton Rouge zoning meeting held by the East Baton Rouge Metro Council, they wanted to look into the change of zoning being consistent with the comprehensive plan and be compatible with the surrounding areas.
Councilman Darryl Hurst said the club was considered “death trap city” with the number of cars parked everywhere blocking roadways, and crime activity. Hurst said he worked as a security guard at the club when he was younger, and said everyone is calling the potential new club the “club of nightmares.”
“There would be shootings out there,” said Hurst. “Fights, bricks being thrown, mace in the yards.”
The new renter of the building, Kenvin Monje, said he knows there’s been a bad past, but is presenting a new business model for the council.
“I’m a new guy, you know, I know that club has had a bad experience.” says Monje. “I’m not going to say ‘this is a bad area’. No, I’m a businessman, and I’m trying to do a business too, you know?”
According to Monje, he has attended five zoning meetings and has invested over $100,000 into redesigning the club. Spending those investments, even without the council or the ABC board’s approval to move forward with the required permits.
“Now I’m literally broke,” said Monje. “When I started the business, I had four businesses, two barber shops, a restaurant, and a bakery and I sold all of my businesses to open this club.”
After an ongoing debate, Hurst tells Monje, “You literally could have picked any other building on that street, and you would have probably got it passed.”
Council members Aaron Moak, Dwight Hudson, Cleve Dunn Jr., and Carolyn Coleman suggested that Monje should wait on spending any more money on investments.
During the meeting it was suggested to zone the building as a potential restaurant rather than a bar or club serving alcohol.
Walker said she’s not buying that Monje will agree to that proposition.
“Well, that permit is certainly going to cost more money,” said Walker. “I’m not sure what the bottom line about that was.”
The Dallas Drive item has been deferred until November for Monje to come forward with another business plan.