Tongue & Groove Old Enough for Club Life

Tongue & Groove Old Enough for Club Life

By Logan C. Ritchie /

Michael Krohngold and Scott Strumlauf, the owners of Buckhead hotspot Tongue & Groove, believe the key to success is to stay humble.

Tongue & Groove has reached age 21 by changing with the times.
Tongue & Groove has reached age 21 by changing with the times.

The Jewish business partners were set to celebrate Tongue & Groove on Thursday, Nov. 19, at the club’s 21st birthday party.

During the day, both men can be found in the office working on insurance and financials — the less sexy responsibilities of club ownership. Working during nonclub hours, leaning on staff and management, and pressing the flesh on a regular basis are vital for long-term success.

“We treat it as a real business, not like a candy store,” Strumlauf said. “It’s not a playground, but if you treat it like one, you’ll be out of business.”

But to Atlantans ages 21 to 35, Tongue & Groove is the premier playground for music and entertainment. Staying on top of trends, Krohngold and Strumlauf stressed, keeps the 8,600-square-foot space crowded.

“It’s a constant invention — staying relevant in musical format. When we started, hip-hop was in its infancy, and now it’s a dominant force in all music,” Krohngold said. “When we opened, men were required to wear sports coats. Women have always looked good in a little black dress and heels.”

Technology and lighting are crucial, the partners said. For the celebration of 21 years, pixel-mapping LED panels are being installed to drastically upgrade the light show.

If loud music and sweaty singles are not your thing, Tongue & Groove can change like a chameleon. Wednesday nights are salsa lessons with great music and an international crowd. On Saturdays before 10 p.m., you might catch a bar mitzvah kid riding a zip line into his party dressed as Batman.

Finishing each other’s sentences, Krohngold and Strumlauf acknowledge that they were not always friends outside work.

“He’s black and white; I’m gray. He’s numbers; I’m blue sky,” Krohngold said. “We respect each other’s opinions and space.”

Strumlauf agreed. “We have been together longer than any other relationship in our lives. We have learned from one another and respect one another’s viewpoints. And I’ve chilled out.”

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