Interviews, People

‘WE DON’T AND WILL NEVER ALLOW NAKED DANCERS’

-I-Level manager cries about accusation of running a strip club

 

Since its launch in May 2013, I-Level lounge/nightclub, Ogba, Lagos, has become a choice venue for fun seekers as well as playing host to several A-list celebrities due to its impressive facilities and international standard services.

However, following the expansion of the lounge and the instalment of a pole in the lounge few weeks back, there were some newspaper reports that the club had veered into strip teasing, with naked girls offering erotic entertainment to guests for a fee.

ENCOMIUM Weekly, on Friday, October 25, 2013, paid a visit to the club at Ogunnusi Road, opposite Airtel office Aguda, Ogba, Lagos, where in this interview with the General Manager, Omolola Alonge, she insisted that tales of naked dancers in the club were farfetched and far from the truth. She also shed light on the activities of the lounge, among other issues.

 

How has business been for the club since you started operations some five months ago?

Ogba is a new market but it’s a nice place as well. Business is not bad apart from the normal general complain of being slow sometimes but it’s not bad. It’s a lounge where people come to relax. So, the business of relaxation is never totally bad.

 What are the unique offerings of this club?

Let me start by telling you the idea behind I-Level. I-Level was created just for people to relax and unwind. It is not for people to come and get messed up, just pure relaxation. We want to give them a unique or special place in Ogba, aesthetically pleasing and to make the drinks very affordable. That’s the unique thing about this place, as beautiful as it is, things are supposed to be expensive, our food and drinks are supposed to be expensive but they’re not.

How does making everything cheap make sense business wise?

Business wise, it means that your profit is not going to be much compared to others but you will still get something. If, for example, another club is selling brand A for two naira and we are selling it for one naira two kobo, the profit on it is supposed to be seven percent but because ours is cheap, our profit is like two percent which by the time you take out diesel, staff payment, bills and other expenses, your profit is actually nothing. But as I said, the idea is for people to have class service in a very affordable way.

What other services does I-Level offer?

We have rooms at the back, we have eat out, indoor restaurant downstairs, the lounge and we have the VIP as well as VVIP lounge.

What about security?

Security is very tight but Ogba is not a rough place and we haven’t had any problem since we started. Ogba is a peaceful place where everyone respects themselves.

There have been some renovations cum expansion in the lounge, what informed it?

The place was a bit too small for people so we had to knock out some rooms and expanded the lounge. It was a bit small.

Is it true that you do strip clubbing here?  

We have never done strip here, this is not a strip bar, it’s a lounge. It is strictly a lounge, we have never stripped here and we would never do strip. Whoever came up with that kind of rumour obviously has not been here. That person probably just sat down in his house and thought that it’s a strip bar. Maybe they mixed this single pole in the VVIP up for strip but it’s not a strip pole, it’s for dancing for customers’ private party.

I’ve been here and some girls have approached me and said they want to come and be stripping and I turned them back because that would even change the whole idea of I-Level. The idea is for Ogba people and even outsiders to come around here to find a peaceful environment where the ambience is cool and have fun.

Which are your club days?  

We have Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. We open every day because people lodge here 24/7. So we can’t help but open every day, but we club on those three days.

Is it true that you have been hosting some celebrities here?      

Oh yes, we have. We do monthly celebrity night. For example, as I’m talking to you, there are artistes coming in today. We have Terry G coming in, we’ve had Sheyman, Danny Young, Jaywon and Reminisce. We’ve also had Chidinma and quite a lot of people, actually. It’s also another aspect of trying to bring entertainment to Ogba people and so far the artistes themselves have been really supportive. They are wonderful people, they just come around and hang out. We’ve had PSquare here and it was beautiful.

What exactly is the attraction?

It’s solely the ambience. You feel relaxed, it’s cool, cozy, in a beautiful location and it combines class with affordability. You don’t get that anywhere else.

For people who are used to going to the Island, Ikeja or Surulere to club, can you give a few reasons why they should come here instead?

I’m tempted to say they should come and see for themselves. I’ve managed clubs on the Island, around Ikeja, Yaba and I’ve gone as far as Lekki, managing different clubs yet I live in Ogba. It’s risky to leave Ogba and go far away, especially when you’re going to take alcohol or just dance and party and you’re driving. But when you’re close to your house and you get same services, if not better than the one you’re going for outside, why not do it where you are. And if your car breaks down, you know you can stroll home.

If you’re too high, you know you can get home. If you’re too tired, you can still get home easily and you spend less for more here.

 – DANIEL FAYEMI

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