Hoodscope Exclusive: Poleng Lounge Co-owner to Open The Summit, an Art Bar & Cafe in the Mission
The beloved Poleng Lounge officially shut it’s doors back in January, and co-owner Desi Danganan has been busy trying to get a new venture up and running. SF Weekly’s John Birdsall previously reported that he was considering an opportunity in the Mission. We now know that the new venture will be an art bar and cafe in the Mission, called The Summit. A new blog launched by Desi chronicles his journey.
The Summit will be located at 19th and Valencia and “was originally slated to be the 2nd poleng lounge–with a twist. It was gonna be a variation of poleng called Casa Poleng.” The blog doesn’t divulge much info, other than it will be a casual art bar and cafe. He enlisted the help of the same designer that helped design Poleng Lounge, Namu, and Som, so you know this new place will have some style! Picture large communal tables and a lounge area, perfect for facilitating interaction and discussion, rather than privacy and seclusion that often comes with restaurant dining.
Naturally, I was very excited with the news, so I caught up with Desi and he was gracious enough to tell me more about his upcoming plans!
He says The Summit is “a complete departure from Poleng and is designed to serve the needs of the neighborhood and our building mates–i/o ventures and their cadre of start-ups and digital entrepreneurs.” i/o ventures is a startup incubator program that helps small startups launch with the guidance of mentors and advisors from companies like Yelp, Digg, Mint, MochiMedia, and OpenDNS. You apply to their Startup Accelerator program, and you are incubated for four months with mentors guiding you from idea to launch.
I asked him why he decided to open a cafe instead of another restaurant, he says “the mish doesn’t need another high-end restaurant and the techies we share the space with need a casual environment to share ideas. The summit is about bringing like minds and free thinkers together. 3 star asian food @ 3 star prices and bang’in hiphop will alienate some people.” I love the idea of having a “3rd space” to meet with like-minded thinkers to share ideas and brainstorm. A “3rd space” is a concept popularized by Ray Oldenburg that states that society needs a place away from home (1st space) and work (2nd space). Looks like I found my new office!
Note: These images from The Summit’s Blog are merely inspiration pieces, not the actual pieces that will be used.
To bring everyone together, the “main style of seating will be large communal tables to encourage group interaction.” Pictured on his blog are photos of picnic tables and large coffee tables surrounded by couches, inspired by hotel lounges. There will also be art on display, and Desi believes that “art also has the power to open minds & facilitate dialogue.”
When asked about a timeframe for launch, Desi was less specific, saying “launch dates are moving targets. there are so many variables involved (ie the city) that you can’t have a definite day. also, in this biz–you don’t want a huge launch. hospitality is organized chaos and the actors on stage (staff) are still learning their lines. i learned that early on when we held a soft-launch party and we totally bomb’d it. in an ideal world, the summit would open on what would’ve been poleng’s 4th anniversary (sigh).”
I have to say I am very excited about Poleng 2.0. Whether or not The Summit will have a nightlife agenda is yet to be seen, but part of me is hoping it will still be a venue to listen to some good hip-hop from local DJs like the boys from Distortion2Static, who were a staple at Poleng nightlife, to industry heavy-hitters such as Jay-Z’s tour DJ, Neil Armstrong.
With a lot of talented minds crafting business plans and devising the next Web 2.0 hit everyday at The Summit, perennial startup meeting spot Ritual Coffee Roasters may be challenged for their title. I’ll definitely find myself at The Summit once their doors open, figuring out how to grow Hoodscope into a global brand. Maybe the guys at i/o ventures can help me figure that one out?
Huge thanks to Desi Danganan for taking time to speak with me about The Summit. I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say we’re all very excited!
You can follow me on Twitter: @genejo
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Tags: art gallery, cafe, desi danganan, i/o ventures, poleng, poleng lounge, startups, the summit