The idea for Dream House Lounge ironically came to owner David Wallace in a dream. While on his entrepreneurial and spiritual journey, Wallace had an idea to shake up New Orleans nightlife culture.
Dream House Lounge is the city’s first oxygen bar and wellness lounge. Not only does the space provide health and wellness opportunities, but also serves as a gathering place for creatives in the Black community.
With Wallace’s previous work in diversity, equity and inclusion consulting, he wanted to take the steps to work for himself as well as make a bigger impact in the New Orleans community.
A safe space
Initially, Wallace had the idea to make a space that served Black-owned liquor brands. However, he said that idea didn’t resonate with Dream House.
“I always thought about Black and brown people in the process. I know in New Orleans and Louisiana specifically, there are a lot of health complications in our community that are directly related to alcohol consumption,” Wallace said. “How could I be a person that is trying to create a more equitable and socially just place in my consulting, and then I do the exact opposite in my lounge?”
Dream House incorporates Black-owned businesses in every sector of the space with Black contractors who worked on the space and the walls painted with paint from a Black-owned company named Clare. Wallace also said he used furnishings from the Black-owned company The Jungalow and brought the space together with plants from local Black-owned business Crazy Plant Bae.
“It was very important for me through the building of Dream House to also acknowledge
the Black History, not only African history or African-American, but like the Black history,” Wallace said.
Dream House serves what they call “conscious cocktails,” as well as an alcohol-removed wine selection. Owner David Wallace said he also hopes to address respiratory issues like allergies and asthma that people in New Orleans face with Dream House’s oxygen bar.
“I started to read up on the health benefits such as improving your mood and concentration. Oxygen bars also help you recover from altitude sickness or replenish the oxygen in your body, which may help people who have been drinking recover,” Wallace said.
Wallace said he views Dream House’s oxygen bar as a “healthier type of hookah” that may help improve health issues people in the Black and Brown community may face.
Present for self and the community
Overall, Dream House was created to be a community lounge where people can come together and better each other. Wallace said he plans to have programming each week to help the community, including meditation and mental health Mondays, soul poetry nights with local artists and a “taste of dream” night which allows local chefs to display their skills to the community.
“I want people to come in and feel the culture and community. When you remove alcohol, you force people to be present, mentally, spiritually and physically,” Wallace said. “I am impressed with the number of people who are sitting in Dream House with notebooks, planning out their future. I get very excited when I see people inside of Dream House, and they’re partaking in the mission of creating a place of dreams.”
Wallace said Dream House is for everyone, whether they choose to drink or not. The space has games and activities that are conversation starters to get people in the community to engage with each other and share ideas.
“I think about soul care instead of self-care. What are you doing to tend to your soul, whether it’s physical activity, mental activities or social activities?” Wallace said. “We are pioneering a new nightlife in New Orleans so that you can go out and have a great time and then come home safely and dream sober. We’re giving people an alternative, elevated experience so people can keep hold of their identity and still have fun.”