Thursday, January 3, 2019

Business owners open dance club downtown | News - Kokomo Perspective

The co-owners of Sycamore Social Club have one big goal: to make Kokomo dance again, and they may accomplish that with the opening of their latest venture.

Sycamore Social Club opened on Dec. 22, just in time to help ring in the New Year. But, more than that, the new club fills a niche in the market of Kokomo’s nightlife.

Co-owners Kyle Gibson and Dustin and Lindsey Ogle know that niche exists because they ran the Sycamore Social Club’s spiritual predecessor, The Social, which formerly was located on South Lafountain Street and closed in 2015. Dustin said he was surprised a business owner never stepped into the dance club market since but that reopening a dance club was never far from thought after The Social’s closing.

“There’s always a lot of personal stuff in why anyone makes a decision, I think,” said Dustin. “It closing was a personal thing at the time, but we built that market up to 5,000 a week from other cities, from our city. It was a solid, big market … all of our other business ventures and stuff sort of lined themselves out, and we both have the time. We’re like, ‘Now’s the time.’”

Sycamore Social Club, however, differs from its predecessor. Most notably, it’s in a smaller venue, and it’s convenient for Gibson and Ogle who own The Coterie, which is located on the second floor of 107 W. Sycamore St.

A few years ago, the space beneath The Coterie opened up when the bar The District closed. The business owners decided that space, connected to The Coterie via a stairwell, would be perfect for their new dance club.

So they got to work, modifying the space and getting it ready for business. Most notably, they cut down the existing bar in the space and made room for a dance floor. The space is smaller than The Social was, and the owners view that as a positive.

“It was always a challenge to fill up the dance club in that big space because it held so many people,” said Gibson. “I mean 5,000 people a week is a lot of people to expect to come in and pay your bills. When we looked at smaller spaces, you can fit 40 people in here, and it looks busy. When you put 40 people in the old social it was like, ‘Well what are we going to do today?’”

Plus, they noted, having the craft cocktail bar connected to the dance club gives customers options. Just like The Social functioned as a dance club and a sports bar, patrons can choose between the two bars’ distinct atmospheres.

Sycamore Social Club also differs greatly from its upstairs counterpart in its offerings. While craft beer and cocktails are the name of the game at The Coterie, Sycamore Social Club provides a more traditional club drink menu. “Name brands and quick pours” consisting of highballs and other mixed drinks are the fare to expect at the new dance club.

And, of course, DJs commonly will be on-hand to provide the music for Sycamore Social Club, whereas The Coterie tends to feature live bands.

Dustin and Gibson both feel as though the time is right to bring a dance club back to Kokomo. Aside from the hole in the market, the owners have seen first-hand the success of downtown. Gibson said The Coterie’s clientele is an even split of new customers and regulars, meaning there’s plenty of people looking to come downtown for a night on the town.

“I think they’re feeling more comfortable coming out downtown because there’s way more to experience,” said Gibson.

Sycamore Social Club is open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. and located on the first floor of 107 W. Sycamore St. The owners said to expect pop up parties for special events and holidays to be held on days that aren’t normal operating hours.

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