Tag Archives: consulting

Plans Disclosed to Redevelop Grand Pacific Hotel Building


RMD Group, a development and management company, announced plans to redevelop the historic Grand Pacific Hotel, a 15,000-square-foot building in the heart of Downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. The plans include a long-term lease with San Diego-based real estate investment and management company HP investors.

The property, located at 360 Fifth Ave., benefits from its high-traffic location on the corner of Fifth and J Streets. It will be transformed into a multi-level, multi-concept restaurant and bar, according to the announcement.

RMD Group will begin its multimillion-dollar investment into the property starting spring 2018. The new, yet-to-be-named concept will open to the public in mid-2019.

“The Gaslamp truly is ‘home’ for us at RMD Group, so when we heard about the opportunity with this historic space located in our own backyard, we naturally jumped at the chance to work with HP Investors to develop an entertainment and dining destination unlike anything we’ve created before,” said RMD Group Partner Michael Georgopoulos. “Our goal is to establish a true entertainment hub where food, wine, beer, cocktails and music come together in a variety of unique spaces and experiences perfect for everyday dining, drinking and special large-scale meetings and events.”

“The Grand Pacific Hotel is a historic and important building for San Diego, so we wanted to focus on a thoughtful redevelopment of the site that kept the integrity of the building while offering a modern concept that reflects the future of the Gaslamp,” said HP Investors Managing Partner Sumeet Parekh. “In RMD, we got a partner who has the experience and knowledge to not only pull off the renovation but also be successful long-term.”

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Tacos and Tequila Fueling the Gaslamp’s New Volcano Rabbit


Set to reopen Friday, February 16 after temporarily shuttering last fall, the rebooted Don Chido is now called Volcano Rabbit. Named after a real animal — the world’s second-smallest rabbit which is native to Mexico — the restaurant from RMD Group (Rustic Root, Side Bar, Salvucci’s) has an all-new menu and bar program that positions it at as a fresh addition to the Gaslamp nightlife scene.

Reimagined by local firm Ocio Design Group to resemble a traditional Mexican hacienda with both playful and elegant touches, the Fifth Avenue restaurant’s menu revolves around tacos from executive chef Andre Alto that range from chili-rubbed octopus to seared ahi, sticky beef short rib and blackened-lime shrimp. And each month, Volcano Rabbit will rotate in a deluxe special taco; priced at $20, the over-the-top options will include baked lobster with katafi, poached quail egg, citrus aioli and sturgeon caviar; sea scallop with arancini cake, lemon coulis, crispy yam and bacon pop rock; and beef cheek with brioche toast, foie gras, marrow butter and mascarpone sauce. There are larger entrees too, such as a shareable meat board piled with carne asada, carnitas, a duck leg and more.

Bringing the party is menu of agave spirits menu that offers more than 175 selections from around the globe. Beyond craft cocktails, margarita variations and large-format drinks, the bar also has a bottle service program that includes a “mix-and-match” mini-bottle option which gives guests the choice of three mini spirits bottles from more than 30 options. And serious tequila collectors can even have their own tequila locker on-site, with memberships including discounted bottle pricing,

Volcano Rabbit will also host DJs every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; a weekly Saturday party brunch will feature build-your-own ceviche stations and brunch bottle service.

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RMD Group Partners With Hard Rock Hotel


If you’ve celebrated Halloween or New Year’s Eve at Hard Rock Hotel San Diego in the past year, you’ve already seen a glimpse of RMD’s work.

The team behind some of San Diego’s most popular venues such as FLUXX Nightclub, Rustic Root and Side Bar has entered a new full-time partnership with the musically-charged Hard Rock Hotel.

For the party people of San Diego, the news means this: RMD Group will take over managing 207 bar and Float Rooftop Lounge starting this month. You can expect more epic parties and updates to the hotel’s nightlife venues, as well as larger-than-life themes that the RMD Group has become most known for. For more information, visit rmdgroupsd.com.

207 Fifth Ave., downtown. hardrockhotelsd.com

Designing a Moneymaker

Written by David Klemt

Image source: www.FluxxEvents.com

RMD Group has designed some incredibly successful venues. The most notable amongst their projects is likely FLUXX, located in San Diego. Unlike traditional design firms, partners and past Nightclub & Bar Show speakers Dan and Dave Ranzella and Mike Georgopoulos approach projects from the perspective of operators, a key element to their success. As many operators know, working with a designer who has never actually owned or managed a bar, nightclub or restaurant can be frustrating. As operators themselves, RMD Group knows what to focus on throughout the entire build and what works.

When designing a space, Dan, Dave and Mike put their emphasis on optimizing the customer experience while keeping the design and build-out within budget. RMD Group’s main design considerations are maximizing space and creating the desired flow, maximizing efficiency in operations, guest and staff safety, durability of materials selected and obtaining the client’s desired look and feel. In terms of finances – a major area of focus for RMD – the group cannot stress enough the importance of knowing your costs at all points of the build and understanding that limited funding will dictate design choices. These choices encompass the layout, lighting and sound, build materials and flooring.


Unlike some other designers, RMD’s first concern is operational infrastructure. The location of bars, bar storage areas, the kitchen, service stations and restrooms are the first order of business. Next up is maximizing the efficiency of bottle service should a venue offer it. Ever the innovators, RMD has developed multi-tiered VIP tables. Storage is built into multiple levels with pullout drawers for backup supplies. Reducing the number of steps it takes for a server to attend to their tables properly means more time with your VIP guests.

“The more items that you can keep at that bottle service table, the less trips back and forth to the kitchen or storage area by your bottle service waitress or your server assistant, spending more time at the table actually mixing drinks for clients and upselling,” says Dave Ranzella.

Another RMD Group innovation is custom-built VIP seating, which has become fairly standard now within the industry. These booths are designed with built-in storage for removable cushions. When your guests are ready to stand or dance on your booths the cushions can be removed and stored for a safer, more stable platform. Additionally, removing the cushions means they won’t be damaged by high heels. These booths are also multi-level which means the number of people who can be seated at your tables is effectively doubled.

The design group also employs a concept they refer to as Shrinking the Field. Through the use of curtains, Spandex and other room dividers, bars and entire sections within a venue can be closed off on slower nights or shifts.  Furniture can also be used to give an empty space a busier feel, and it can be removed as the venue becomes busier.

Lighting & Sound

As any operator and bar manager knows, sound and lighting design is crucial to the success of any nightclub or bar. Lighting and sound add ambiance, inspire a mood, shape a room and energize your guests. Choosing your lighting and sound designers can be just as important as selecting an architect and interior designer.

When considering your options, you need to understand who you intend to have controlling the audio inside your venue. Will your patrons have access to such controls or will you keep that out of their hands? Also, how prominent do you intend the sound and lighting to be inside your space? Will your music be front and center and in your face like that of a dance club or live music venue or will it be in the background like a bar or lounge?

While it may be tempting to buy the biggest and best when it comes to speakers and the rest of the sound system, realize that your space will dictate the size and number of speakers and your audio will only be good as the quality of the formats being used by your DJs. Speaking of which, DJ booth placement is another important factor to consider. You can either choose to install the booth in a permanent location or utilize a mobile DJ platform. Again, your music choice will help you make this decision. For example, venues playing EDM should have the DJ booth very near the crowd while open format venues should place it further away. Don’t forget about lighting controllers, either. A system like Lutron will save you money in the long run and it’s important to remember that your lighting is only as good as the one programming and controlling it.


There are a lot of options out there flooring, all with their pros and cons. For instance, concrete is your most cost effective option as the only actual cost is the finish. However, it’s horrible for acoustics. Linoleum is also cost effective and durable but can look cheap. Carpet, unlike concrete, is great for acoustics, is widely available and therefore comes with a short lead time and allows for colors and patterns to run throughout the entire space. Unfortunately, carpet also stains easily and absorbs odors and liquids. Other options are stone, wood and engineered wood. On the plus side, every one of those options looks fantastic in just about any venue, regardless of the theme. However, stone and wood are expensive. Engineered wood is less costly than the other two options but when damaged cannot easily be repaired.


Upholstery is one of the final – but more fun – of the design element considerations. The main materials you’ll be considering are vinyl, leather and fabric. As any bar owner knows, vinyl offers plenty of options in terms of colors, is readily available and therefore enjoys a short lead time, doesn’t stain or absorb liquids and odors easily, is ideal for outdoors and is inexpensive. Of course, vinyl also looks inexpensive and that can affect the perception of your venue and your brand.

Leather is, of course, more expensive but offers a rich appearance and feel. However, the issue with leather is that is not the best choice for outdoor areas. Also, it can tear and crack over time. The option with the biggest swings in terms of pricing is fabric. The colors, patterns and textures available give you a lot of freedom in terms of design. Also, soft fabrics are inviting and comfortable for your guests. Fabrics can be very expensive and will stain and absorb liquids and odors.

Learn more about designing a venue and maximizing the customer experience at the 2016 Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show!