BANGOR, Maine — Even as he was in the process of buying the building that now houses his two-bar business three years ago, Steve Parlee had his eyes on another property on Broad Street.
After almost two months of negotiations, that property is now his and the Bangor native plans to turn it into a nightclub.
The 3,900-square-foot space making up most of the second floor at 193 Broad St. still looks more like its former incarnation — L’Aperitif European Tapas Lounge — than its new one: Tantrum nightclub and restaurant.
The new place will be slightly bigger as Parlee also has leased a 1,300-square-foot space across the hall from the main entrance to serve as a function room and extra space with a separate bar.
“I don’t know where I got the name from,” Parlee said. “I just know I’m not the target market, so I wrote a bunch of names down and handed it out to people who are my target market, the twenty- and thirtysomething age, and they all liked Tantrum.”
Parlee, who has co-owned and operated Reverend Noble Pub and Ipanema Bar and Grill upstairs and downstairs, respectively, at 10 Broad St. with wife Elizabeth since 2009, said the lessons learned three years ago are making this venture much smoother.
“The second time around is so much easier,” Parlee said. “It’s so much easier knowing who to call, what you can get away with, and what you can’t.”
The space also features another 1,000 square feet as part of a second-story deck outside, which Parlee plans to open up for spring and summer as well as special offseason events such as Halloween and New Year’s Eve.
“I want to be open by Halloween and I’d like to have a soft opening the week before,” he said.
The first order of business is installing a 1,000-square-foot dance floor in the former dining area. The club will have a maximum capacity of about 300 people — 400 when the deck is open — and begin operating from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.
Tantrum is divided by a smaller office but Parlee said the office’s owner plans to keep it open only for another year or so. Parlee’s long-range plan is to take that over as well and redesign the entire upstairs area.
“When we have the whole floor, we’re going to totally lay out the place over again,” he said.
The Parlees envision a metro-themed club employing 15 to 20 people that looks more like something you’d find in Boston, with LED lighting that changes colors, all the electronic bells and whistles, and top-flight DJ talent.
“We want to bring in high-end lasers, a big sound system, quality DJs,” he said. “The goal is to rotate through different house DJs, have an EDM [electronic dance music] night Thursdays to bring in the college crowd, and eventually bring in bigger talent like DJ Ms Thang [aka Liz Ladoux], Laserdisc Party Sex, whatever.”
The club likely will charge a $5 cover.
“You don’t need to fear charging a cover if you give them something to pay a cover for,” said Parlee. “When I look around at the competition, one really doesn’t have a lot of seating, another has almost none, and I think the reason the strip club is so busy is because there’s a place to sit with a good light and sound system. I think the market is there.
“This is a perfect location. You can do a lot of stuff here.”
Tantrum will start offering appetizers and snacks on its food menu, but Parlee said by spring or summer, it will serve dinners and offer catering services as well.
“Our plan is to offer a very unique menu. We have some ideas what we want to do,” Parlee said.
Those ideas also extend to the expansive main bar.
“We’re going to work pretty closely with [Houlton-made] Twenty 2 vodka and infuse our own flavored vodkas here,” Parlee said. “They distill a high-proof vodka specially made for infusion. We’ll have a couple rows of three or four different infusions at a time lined up.”