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Old 07-11-2005, 10:49 AM   #1
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"EASY STREET RIDERS" Newspaper article.

New "high-scale" biker bar..!!!!

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/printsto...siness/3255627


From the Chronicle:
================================================== =======

EASY STREET RIDERS
Two wheels, deep pockets
Biker bar offers an upscale take on the concept
By DAVID KAPLAN
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

A biker bar near River Oaks opens today.

But "you won't see Hells Angels cracking beer bottles over each others' heads," noted Scott Lutwak, president of Crome.

Crome is meant for RUBs, he said. That's short for Rich Urban Bikers.

Unlike biker bars in outlying areas, Crome has a slate and chrome water fountain and valet parking.

A typical biker bar sells lots of Bud and chips. Crome will serve martinis and lobster quesadillas.

Displayed throughout the upscale bar are high-end choppers, priced as high as $60,000.
map

Crome, on Shepherd between Alabama and Westheimer, isn't just a swanky lounge. It is also a marketing vehicle for selling choppers.

Adjoining the bar is a mini-showroom featuring Big Dog and other chopper brands.

There is something very Houston about Crome, which was apparent when Lutwak gave a tour.

"The party will be out here," he said while standing on the back patio overlooking a valet service parking lot, which will allow patrons to see who is arriving on what wheels.

Instead of gazing at boats like they do in Kemah, the Crome crowd will admire approaching Harley-Davidson and Big Dog bikes, mixed in with the Ferraris and Porsches, Lutwak said.

Feeling at home
Lutwak, 38, will probably feel at home at Crome. Tanned and buff, he has silver combed-back hair. He arrived in a Range Rover, leaving his Harley and Porsche at home. His muscles are toned at Fit, an upscale gym he founded last year.

Lutwak's partners in Crome are Lee Hayes and Bert Williams, owners of Big Dog Motorcycles of West Houston, an 8-year-old chopper dealership, and Mark Gray, president of oil-field supply company South Coast Supply Co.

The partners envision Crome as an entertaining way to sell choppers inside the Loop. They also hope RUBs and others will order lots of drinks and bar food.

A chopper, for those who didn't see Easy Rider, is a motorcycle with customized handlebars, low seat, over-extended front fork and fat rear tire.

It's a "long, low and mean machine," Hayes said, not meant for long drives more of a "look at me" vehicle.

Choppers are a growing segment of the motorcycle industry, although their sales are still a fraction of the market. Harley-Davidson will produce about 300,000 motorcycles this year, Hayes said, compared to the 12,000 choppers of various brands that will be made.

The chopper craze reignited four years ago, fueled by shows such as American Chopper on the Discovery Channel.

Big Dog Motorcycles of West Houston represents Big Dog, the sales leader among choppers, as well as Wild West, Saxon and Bourget.

Last year, Big Dog Motorcycles of West Houston was among the largest Big Dog dealers in the U.S. Its choppers range in price from $24,000 to $60,000.

Unconventional approach
Crome is a $1 million project, Lutwak said, twice what he initially projected.

Combining a motorcycle dealership with an upscale lounge is an unusual marketing strategy.

But it's a good concept for getting people in for the first visit, said Betsy Gelb, professor of marketing and entrepreneurship at the University of Houston's Bauer College of Business.

Any return business, she said, depends on "the competence of the business plan and staff to make it an experience worth repeating. Will they keep bringing in new choppers? Will the bar offer an experience they can't find at any other bar in town?"

Lutwak said he enjoys finding new niches in the marketplace.

An early start
He seems to be a born entrepreneur. At 16, he sold bootleg T-shirts with slogans such as "Where's the Beef" at a flea market in Chicago. The next summer he hired friends to sell at 10 other spots.

He is the founder of the 6-year-old restaurant.com, a dot-com survivor. Originally, the business was a national online dining guide. It didn't work, so he reinvented it.

Restaurant.com became, in his words, a "cash-free marketing program for restaurants designed to put butts in seats."

About 6,000 restaurants participate.

Restaurant.com provides restaurants with services such as the building of Web sites and production of stored-value plastic gift cards, at no charge to the restaurants.

In return, the restaurants give his company credit, which is turned into gift certificates. On its Web site, restaurant.com offers a $25 restaurant gift certificate for $5 to $10.

"Basically, we're selling money," Lutwak said.

Fitness for professionals
Last year, he opened a fitness club in the River Oaks area called Fit, catering to inside-the-Loop young professionals. His partner is former Enron Chief Financial Officer Jack Tompkins.

Boasting 4,000 members, Fit features high-end workout equipment, velvet couches and 18 flat-screen TVs.

On Wednesday, the night before the official opening, Lutwak hosted a party at Crome for Fit members.

A concept somewhat similar to Crome opened in Florida last month, although it isn't as ritzy.

Hollywood Choppers in Hollywood, Fla., is a combination chopper showroom, beer and wine bar, T-shirt shop, tattoo parlor and cigar counter and is on the grounds of the Seminole Hard Rock Casino.

Crome is more targeted for the glitzy set in the 30 to 55 age range.

During peak hours, Crome's biggest private room will offer bottle-service only. For $225, Lutwak said, a table gets a bottle of, say, Grey Goose, carafes of grapefruit, cranberry and orange juice, a bowl of strawberries all on a silver tray and a bucket of ice. Bottle service is big in Las Vegas and other cities, and it is catching on in Houston, Lutwak said.

Most mixed drinks will cost $7.50.

The reason he spent so much to build Crome is that "people of River Oaks have higher expectations."

He imagines his typical customers to be couples who after dining at nearby Fleming's Prime Steakhouse are "looking for a place to go to get a little nutty."

What if outlaw bikers show up?

"If they're willing to pay our prices for beer," Lutwak said, "they're welcome to come in."

david.kaplan@chron.com

================================================== ======
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Old 07-11-2005, 12:16 PM   #2
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Re: "EASY STREET RIDERS" Newspaper article.

pretty good idea considering how many richs f's ride these days. they'll probably do pretty well.
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Old 07-11-2005, 12:17 PM   #3
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Re: "EASY STREET RIDERS" Newspaper article.

So what is wrong with being rich?
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Old 07-11-2005, 12:21 PM   #4
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Re: "EASY STREET RIDERS" Newspaper article.

well we know where the gold-digging whores of houston will be this weekend....not that theres anything wrong with that right:
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Old 07-11-2005, 12:22 PM   #5
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Re: "EASY STREET RIDERS" Newspaper article.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moody
So what is wrong with being rich?
Nothing wrong Jason....... but we the ghetto people will like to be rich like you and those RUB's........
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Old 07-11-2005, 12:31 PM   #6
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Re: "EASY STREET RIDERS" Newspaper article.

i really don't think they can survive the first year. and that location isn't the best either if i remember correctly.
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Old 07-11-2005, 12:37 PM   #7
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Re: "EASY STREET RIDERS" Newspaper article.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ImG
i really don't think they can survive the first year. and that location isn't the best either if i remember correctly.

Here's the location....

bz bikers


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Old 07-11-2005, 01:15 PM   #8
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Re: "EASY STREET RIDERS" Newspaper article.

it will be out of business in a year. guy obviously didnt have a good business and marketing plan if hes aiming for rich bikers. they dont have disposable income like you would think to support a bar like that. n00bs...
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Old 07-11-2005, 01:21 PM   #9
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Re: "EASY STREET RIDERS" Newspaper article.

yea robert i know where its around. my brother in law has a office on edloe and westimer. and it as i remember when visiting him that area was too much trafficky, thats why i don't know if its a good area to have a bar at, not to mention the up scale bar. its not exactly cheap lease too i can imagine, maybe thats why they can justify the 7.50 martinis.
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Old 07-24-2006, 05:35 PM   #10
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Does anyone know if this place still exists? It's been a year :icon_bigg
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Old 07-24-2006, 05:37 PM   #11
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you Robert, I thought Zapada was back, I was gonna tell him welcome and ask if he had MSF and stuff :P

But yes... I think it's still around so neener neener to arturo =)
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Old 07-24-2006, 05:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I think it's still around so neener neener to arturo =)
, you beat me to it!
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im not a midget , i was actually born with a type of dwarfism, but i took medication for 12 yrs to reach just 5'6"
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Old 07-24-2006, 05:53 PM   #13
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I'm sorry, you can have the next one =)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramius
Who I am now is not who I was, and who I will be is better than anything I ever could have imagined. I am Filled with the Spirit of Christ and I walk surrounded by a Host Of Angels, who can stand before the Army of ? Amen!
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Old 07-24-2006, 06:01 PM   #14
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that place is now club not a biker bar like they wanted. not even a very good one too.

http://houston.citysearch.com/review/41782574
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Old 07-24-2006, 06:10 PM   #15
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I withdraw my neener =(
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramius
Who I am now is not who I was, and who I will be is better than anything I ever could have imagined. I am Filled with the Spirit of Christ and I walk surrounded by a Host Of Angels, who can stand before the Army of ? Amen!
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Old 07-24-2006, 06:13 PM   #16
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http://houston.citysearch.com/roundup/39155

Quote:
New Bars Back to Top


Crome
2815 S Shepherd Dr, Houston, TX
Swanky biker bar inside the Loop for middle aged professionals and upscale lounging.


swanky lol
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im not a midget , i was actually born with a type of dwarfism, but i took medication for 12 yrs to reach just 5'6"
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Old 07-24-2006, 08:02 PM   #17
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PLace will be here for a minute and then be sold(or revamped) it's been there or a year or close already and still kicks espeially on sunday funday.
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Old 07-24-2006, 08:12 PM   #18
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definately far from a biker bar.
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Old 07-24-2006, 08:12 PM   #19
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not a "biker bar" but checck this out http://www.vinylpimp.com/sections/pi...picmain_v3.asp
:icon_bigg :icon_bigg :icon_bigg :icon_bigg
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Old 07-25-2006, 05:20 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigcomfynumero2
not a "biker bar" but checck this out http://www.vinylpimp.com/sections/pi...picmain_v3.asp
:icon_bigg :icon_bigg :icon_bigg :icon_bigg

Major Babe Action in that place.
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