One of the most pivotal decisions you'll ever make about your nightclub is its name. A great name gets attention and positions your club – is it elegant, rebellious or fun. Some of the best nightclubs in the world have an added cachet because of the names they have. When you think of Studio 54, CBGB, Whiskey A Go-Go or The Viper Room, you get an immediate picture of a unique club in your head. Nightclub names give owners a unique opportunity for branding, communicating the attitude and flavor of a club in just a few short words. The research needed to find the right nightclub name might take more time than you'd imagine, but it will be worth it. After all, with any luck, you'll be tied to that name for years to come.
Tie in Your Location
One of the simplest ways to create a unique nightclub name is to use part of your location in the name. Studio 54 was located at 254 West 54th Street in New York City. Atomic Liquors in Las Vegas was named for their location; customers used to go up on the roof and watch the atomic bomb tests back in the 1950s. And the world-famous Lee Harvey's is, of course, right in the middle of Dallas, Texas.
Club Names by Theme
If your address is nothing special, or if you can't think of a clever riff on your street name, look to your nightclub theme for a name. One of the earliest examples of this method was the Copacabana Club, a New York hot spot named for the Rio de Janeiro beach. The theme was Brazil, and the feeling was hot-hot-hot!
Sometimes the simplest themes are the best, as long as you give them a little bit of a twist. One of the most famous karaoke bars on the east coast is called The Boombox. There's a club inside an old lobster catch called The Lobster Bar and the infamous Tunnel in New York City was built inside, well, a tunnel. And of course, Las Vegas' bar nightclub XS is all about excess of every kind. After all, it's Vegas. In Ray's Happy Birthday Bar, everyone gets a shot of cake vodka on their birthday while everybody sings along.
How About Some Random Whimsy?
Sometimes it takes just a bit of imagination to come up with club names that pique the interest of potential club-goers. The well-known Detroit-area punk nightclub Clutch Cargo's is one such club. Named after an obscure cartoon, it resonated with music fans in their bands' demographic group. Ministry of Sound books the world's hottest DJs, while Ogie's Trailer Park in New York is named after the owner's cat, Ogie.
Check for Potential Competitors
Once you've decided on the perfect name for your nightclub, it's important for you to make sure it's unique, at least in your local community. You'll be marketing your business both online and offline, so you'll need to search both places for similar business names.
Start by doing a Google search for your name. Once you've determined you've got a unique nightclub name with an available web address, it's a good idea to buy your domain name before anyone else can take it. The costs are minimal, and even if you don't plan to build a website right away, purchasing and parking your domain is always a smart business decision.
Search for trademark infringement of your nightclub name by using the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's trademark search tool to make sure no part of your name is already trademarked. Finally, protect your unique business name by registering your nightclub name with your state government. The Small Business Administration will show you how to do this, depending on which state you're doing business.
Victoria Bailey has owned and operated businesses for 25 years, including an award-winning gourmet restaurant and a rare bookstore. She spent time as a corporate training manager in the third-largest restaurant chain in its niche, but her first love will always be small and independent businesses. Bailey has written for USAToday, Coldwell Banker, and various restaurant magazines, and is the ghostwriter for a nationally-known food safety training guru.