The former DTA (Don't Tell Anyone) Lounge on the ground floor of 101 S. Eola is getting a new life as TSAR, a lounge with a Russian Imperial period flare.
Erol Altunbay, registered agent of KA Group USA, is busily renovating the space from a simulated speak easy theme where patrons entered through a revolving book case into a venue with imperial red upholstery, gilded fixtures and "sexy servers" dressed in costumes resembling abbreviated gold braided marching band uniforms.
Scheduled for a soft opening July 1, with a grand opening in September, Altunbay says the lounge will be targeted toward 30- to 50-year-olds looking for upscale opulence in their drinking venues. Specifically he is targeting his friends from the Sand Lake Road area.
"They are bored with the Sand Lake area," said Altunbay. "And they don't like going to the tourist corridor."
So he plans to hire limousines to bring the Sand Lake patrons to and from the Thornton Park location. He says his friends don't like driving to downtown where they worry about parking, drinking and driving, and interfacing with the younger party crowd in the neighborhood.
Altunbay says his customers will enjoy smoking cigars and drinking vodka and champagne while listening to New Orleans Jazz-type music provided by a professional DJ under the gaze of Russian royalty patrons on the walls.
The lounge will have a patio that flows into the restaurant for smoking. Food will be caviar snacks and finger-food that doesn't require cooking.
For a fee, patrons will be able to reserve lockers where they can keep their cigars and liquor bottles.
Altunbay, who is Turkish, said he is backed by owners of hotels on the Turkish coasts who live in the area.
Altunbay has a diversified background. His Linked-In profile says he has experience in business administration, development, and management, as well as Bachelor's in Industrial Engineering, and licenses in real estate and mortgages.