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SAN DIEGO – After Universal nightclub closed abruptly in January 2010, many wondered what would become of the space on University Avenue at Vermont Street, which had just been reinvigorated a year earlier with the arrival of the entertainment complex.
After sitting vacant for several months, construction work suddenly began on the 15,000 square-foot venue that had become a dark spot along the bustling corridor. In November 2010, Eden introduced its restaurant and patio bar, followed by the much anticipated grand opening of the nightclub space on Jan. 11, 2011.
To celebrate its first year, the popular nightclub will host its “1-Year Anniversary Week,” which will include four parties, including two new special events, to celebrate the milestone and kick off another year of nightlife and entertainment.
Daniel Schulz, Eden’s general manager, said that it was a banner first year for the night spot.
“There was a lot of learning this first year, but we are ready to build on what we did in 2011 to make 2012 an even better year,” Schulz said.
While the venue has become known for its top-notch, celebrity-filled entertainment lineup, advanced sound and lighting systems, food, drink and dancing, Schulz said that the venue wants to ramp up its commitment to the community in its second year.
“We formed some great partnerships last year, hosting numerous charity events,” Schulz said.
One of the first events hosted at Eden was a “pep rally” that benefited The Trevor Project. After that, Schulz said that Eden continued to host events or provide in-kind donations all year long to community serving organizations such as Mama’s Kitchen, GSDBA, San Diego Pride, Supporting Students ~ Saving Lives, Planned Parenthood, Breast Cancer Awareness, Lead The Way SD, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Pets America, Rock to Stop Violence, The Blink Campaign, San Diego Intramural Sporting Groups, Kids Korp USA, the San Diego Polo League and others.
Schulz said that Eden’s owner David Laurent showed his commitment to the community early on by matching the $15,000 that was raised at The Trevor Project event, which resulted in a $30,000 donation.
“We want to continue supporting the community because it has supported us,” Schulz said, noting that he and many members of his staff plan to participate in community volunteer projects in the upcoming year.
“We believe strongly in giving back to the community,” Schulz said. “In fact, it is one of the principles we do business by.”
As for Eden’s business success, Schulz said that it is because the venue offers something everyone.
“Eden offers happy hour, dining, drinking and dancing,” he said. “We are blessed to have a multi-use space for different entertainment features.”
Schulz describes Eden as an “upscale, quality venue with no attitude.”
As for those who might perceive Eden as being “too upscale” or “out of touch with the LGBT community,” Schulz assures customers that is not the type of venue they are trying to create.
“We are absolutely a gay and lesbian bar,” he said. “We market to the LGBT community and go to great lengths to make sure that all of the entertainment we book has the ability to reach out to this demographic. We would never bring anyone in that was not comfortable with that.”
As Eden embarks on its second year, Schulz is sure that everyone who visits will have a great time, as big plans are already in the works.
“Besides 1-Year Anniversary Week, which will include the launch of the Sunday night HEAVEN event with SDPIX, we are planning a big blowout party over President’s Day Weekend, plans for Pride weekend are underway, and we will continue to have celebrity entertainment,” Schulz said.
On the restaurant side of the operation, Chef Thomas Depew has taken over the kitchen and will launch a new menu this month. Schulz said that service in Eden’s restaurant will be taken up a notch and guests will be able to dine on great food.
“We will continue to offer an awesome [dining] experience without the fuss,” Schulz said of the casual atmosphere in Eden’s indoor and outdoor patio dining areas.
Happy Hour will continue to be offered from 4 to 8 pm each day on the patio and at the bar and include 50% off food items and drink specials. Dinner in the restaurant will be served from 5 pm until closing. Eden is closed on Mondays.
1-Year Anniversary Week lineup
The Paper Party
Wednesday, Jan. 11
10 pm to 2 am
Eden’s anniversary week will launch with a “pink carpet event” called The Paper Party. The nightclub will be transformed into a paper paradise, complete with decorations, confetti cannons and giveaways. Eden’s local DJs Frankie M, Von Kiss and Dirty Kurty will open the night and be followed by the internationally known Perry Twins.
Half-Way to Pride Party
Friday, Jan. 13
10 pm to 2 am
The celebration will continue on Friday night with a party celebrating the half-year mark countdown to San Diego’s LGBT Pride weekend (to be held July 20-22). Popular local DJ Luis Perez will spin, and the venue will be decked out in rainbow colors.
DREAM presented by Jeffery Sanker
Saturday, Jan. 14
10 pm to 2 am
The legendary Jeffery Sanker of White Party fame will present a special party featuring entertainment by DJ Joe Gauthreaux and a performance by Toronto’s Guinevere.
HEAVEN presented by SDPIX
Sunday, Jan. 15
10 pm to 2 am
Eden and SDPIX will launch a Sunday night party at the club, featuring a fun vibe, popular DJs, and dancing. DJ Pony from New York City will kick off the weekly event.
Eden is located at 1202 University Ave. in Hillcrest.