Bill Kaelin has been a major player on Atlanta’s nightclub scene for more than a decade. He began his career at Fusion in Midtown before helping make eleven50 (now Opera) one of the city’s most popular dance clubs in the ’90s. For the past five years he’s run Bazzaar, a restaurant and lounge beside the Fox Theatre that has hosted everything from world-renowned DJs to drag queen parties. But this chapter of Kaelin’s career draws to an end when the venue closes Aug. 1. We spoke with Kaelin about his nightlife past, present and future.
You’re known for moving on to new things at the height of your success. Why are you leaving Bazzaar now?
I’ve been in the nightclub business consistently for almost 13 years and I don’t get a chance to go out and see what else is going on in the city. Sometimes when you spend seven days a week within the same four walls you begin to not see the beauty of the place from an outsider’s perspective. Part of the fun for me is taking a spot, making people love it and moving on to the next adventure.
With only two weekends remaining, what are your plans for Bazzaar’s finale?
For the past couple of weeks I’ve been trying to get every DJ that’s ever been a resident here back in, to pay respects to everyone that has helped me make Bazzaar what it is. But the final week is about the true essence of what is and was Bazzaar and the things that made me the most happy here. ... I hope I make it out of here without becoming a big ol’ crying fool.
What do you predict for the future of Atlanta’s nightlife?
A lot of it depends on whether or not somebody starts opening clubs for the love of the music and nightlife instead of the love of making a quick buck. What we’ve seen in the past five years is a bunch of rich people who are looking to open these superclubs, all in the interest of making a million bucks. The city also has to ... relax a little with the liquor laws and maybe provide a couple of 24-hour or late-night spaces. Atlanta doesn’t have a beach or natural attraction, so we’re only going on nightlife, restaurants and entertainment.
What are your plans after Bazzaar?
I have a couple of consulting gigs. One is with C-channelatlanta.com, a new wireless social networking site. DJ Vicki Powell and I are still doing the monthly Flux parties. ... We’re going to take the party downtown and do it the second Saturday of every month at the Mark starting Aug. 15. And before the end of the summer, I’ll be throwing some rooftop pool parties at the Georgian Terrace across the street, which has a beautiful view of the entire city.
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