May 18, 2005

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Dancing without a license
Electra Nightclub finally opens its doors … to the under-21 crowd
By Richie Victorino  rvictorino@hippopress.com

The lack of a liquor license will not stop Electra Nightclub from opening its doors for business this weekend.

Starting this Friday, May 19, Electra will begin its run as an under-21, substance-free club.

The under-21 event, known as Velocity, Manchester, allows for the Fir Street nightclub to finally open its doors despite recently being denied a liquor license. Electra Nightclub owner Jack Franks retracted his petition for a liquor license last week at a liquor commission public hearing because he disagreed with how the proceedings were being handled.

His attorneys are in control now as they seek for alternative ways for the nightclub to get a liquor license.

But while the liquor license lingers in limbo ...
The city of Manchester did in fact grant Franks an entertainment permit in February, meaning Franks is able to run his business, as long as no alcohol is served. Franks said he sees this under-21 club as a positive part of the community since no one at the club will be under the influence of alcohol.

The other Electra Nightclub, in Lebanon, has seen success with its Velocity under-21 events over the years.

“Normally what we do is have these events on a holiday break or over vacation when the kids don’t have school,” Franks said.

But, Franks admitted, the empty nightclub is costing him a ton of money.

“So we said we might as well open up,” he said. “We waited long enough to receive our liquor license. I think it’s time to make use of the space instead of crying over sour grapes.”

From now until the foreseeable future, Electra Nightclub will be a place specifically for the under-21 crowd.

“We will card … if you’re too old, you won’t get in,” Franks said.

He added that parents feel more secure if their children aren’t mingling at clubs with people significantly older than their children, which is why anyone 21 and older will not be admitted. He did say that parents who want to keep an eye on their children will be allowed inside the club.

The rules
Since the first day Franks came to town, he’s been vocal on how seriously he considers the security of his nightclubs. His view on security won’t change just because liquor isn’t involved. There is a dress code (no sporting jerseys, no ripped clothing, no bandanas and men must wear a club or collared shirt). A lifetime ban will be given to anyone who fights in the club or brings in drugs or weapons.

The economics
Alcohol is a big money-maker for any nightclub. But without alcohol, Velocity might be a hard gig to turn into a serious profit. But non-alcoholic drinks will be served (sodas, waters, possibly drinks such as virgin strawberry daiquiris) and there is a $12 door charge.

“You have two groups of people, people who can drink and people who can’t,” Franks said. “But dancing is universal. Everyone likes that.”

The future
While Franks is still interested in getting a liquor license he isn’t opposed to the idea of keeping Electra as an under-21 club. Velocity under-21 nights would likely still occur if Franks does ever get a liquor license.

Velocity
Velocity begins this Friday, May 19, and will also take place on Saturday, May 20. The event starts at 8 p.m. and runs until midnight. There will be live DJs spinning music. There will also be stiff security at the doors, such as security wands. For more on the event go to www.myspace.com/velocitymanchester. Electra Nightclub is located at 34 Fir Street, Manchester, 644-1100.


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