By Gina Tron
By Jon Solomon
By Drew Ailes
By Courtney Harrell
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By Mary Willson
By Bree Davies
Francois Safieddine's upscale Suite Two Hundred (1427 Larimer Street) has been doing extremely well since it opened just over six months ago, according to Paulina Szafranski, vice president of marketing for Lotus Concepts. But to stay ahead of the game, this weekend the club will unveil its new VIP lounge: Marquis.
If the name sounds familiar, that's because the Marquis Theater, a concert venue, is only six blocks away, up at 2009 Larimer. Szafranski says she and her colleagues at Lotus discussed the potential for confusion but decided that their Marquis — essentially a club within a club — is so different that they don't see anyone calling the Marquis Theater for bottle service or people calling Suite Two Hundred's Marquis for concert tickets.
For this Marquis, Lotus Concepts resurrected a concept that worked well at another Saffieddine venue, Lotus, a club in Union Station that had its own VIP area, Karma. Marquis's decor is inspired by the Marquis de Sade story, with Fragonard art, images on mirrors, spirals of English roses winding up a column, and a ceiling that consists entirely of framed mirrors. The focal point of the room will be an exotic birdcage where dancers will perform, Szafranski says, and the waitstaff will be dressed as courtesans. Marquis will also have its own DJ booth, where DJs will spin mash-up, '80s rock, current rock and Top 40.
This is the first time that Lotus Concepts has done upgrades when a club is showing no signs of slowing down, Szafranski says. "We've been so successful," she explains, "so why not offer more to all the VIP guests we already have in the whole company and bring them the suite? It's almost a tool to retain the business we already have, and not only that, but go above and beyond."
New York-based DJ and model Sky Nellor will help celebrate the Marquis grand opening on Friday, April 24, with mash-ups of hip-hop, '80s rock and funk.
Club scout: For another example of a club within a club, there's Wish Nightclub (511 West Colfax Avenue), Kevin Larson's venue, which recently opened the Orchid Lounge in what used to be the Alley Cat. Devon Padgett starting spinning there in 2002 under the name DJ Devo; he's now managing the Orchid Lounge with some help from Kaz Q and Tom Evans. And he's recruited resident DJs Satori-C, mLe, Adam Consigili and Brett Rayer to spin high-energy, thumping electro house in the intimate space, which holds around 100 people. Right now, the Orchid is essentially operating as a private club, with nearly 500 members.
But that could change soon, because Wish, which opened last September, will be going through some changes after it hosts Larson's Twisted Birthday Bash on Friday, April 24. That promises to be quite a party, by the way, with a Pampered Passions fine-lingerie fashion show, fifteen "naked" (actually topless) performers, pole-dancing lessons, a male revue and a few singers (who won't be naked) including Megan Leigh, Sammy T. and Orange Peel Moses. There will be DJs, too, among them Brian Howe (who's also celebrating his birthday), Electro Bliss, Nevin and Crooked Faces. Tickets are $10 general admission and $25 for the VIP "Naked" Lounge — but to gain entrance, you must strip down to lingerie or undergarments. And that same night, Orchid will host a Pajama Jammie Jam, with underwear required. (No matter what happens at Wish after that, Padgett says he plans to keep Orchid going.)
Also on April 24, Casselman's Bar & Venue (2620 Walnut Street) will celebrate its grand opening in the spot where Shakespeare's lasted only a year after moving from 15th and Platte streets. The 9,000-square-foot space will feature a live-music venue in back; owner Adam Ranes says he plans to bring in local and national rock, alternative, metal and punk bands Thursdays through Saturdays. Up front there will be a restaurant, served by a full kitchen preparing food that Ranes describes as "a step above bar food and a step below restaurant food," with burgers, chicken, wraps, salad and some organic items as well.