Club of the Week

Nikki Cormaci 5252 E. 82nd St. (c
Club of the Week Nikki Cormaci 5252 E. 82nd St. (corner of 82nd and Allisonville), above Cibo 317-577-9670 For Indianapolis clubbers, there is a new stairway to excess. At the summit of three narrow flights of hardwood and sconces, Gelo Ultra-Lounge has been unveiled as an intelligent design of deep red and tri-layered space in a dream of Dantean chic. The gluttony of expensive taste and trendy patrons that makes this Northside destination worth the trip begins in the parking lot, where a complimentary valet parking service steers patrons quickly inside. The first floor of the building, just west of Allisonville on 82nd Street, is home to the Italian restaurant Cibo. The second floor hosts the Cibo lounge. It’s another flight of stairs and a trek down a long corridor to Gelo. The club continues the aesthetic trajectory of the restaurant and lounge, in various permutations, of decadent opulence in red and gold. Multiple tiers give the club a sense of deep space and orientation. The top tier, generally reserved for VIP patrons who purchase bottle service, was open on the night we attended to the fresh breath of egalitarianism and its corresponding freedom and flow. Large plasma screen television monitors projected images of Bond-esque women erotically dancing in silhouette, while the Finlanda Vodka logo pulsed hypnotically at the bottom of each screen. A smiling, bespeckled woman approached, thrusting a piece of glossy cardstock into the air in front of her. “It’s a free drink,” she yelled. This was tempting, but it took a few minutes to strategize the descent from the VIP tier into the crowd surrounding the bar. The VIP section emptied onto a landing that oversaw Gelo’s dance floor, a pit of colored searchlights, whose shafts were filled with curling white smoke. The DJ kept it safe but consistent, with sets dosed with cuts from Joan Jett to Daddy Yankee and nothing too deep or too dangerous to jeopardize the steady population on the dance floor. A descent into the formal chaos of the dance floor was accomplished with surprising ease. Within minutes the golden tickets were redeemed for two dusty pink martinis served in stemless glassware, which sipped like liquidized French pastille candy and normally are priced at $8. The other option on the ticket, a Bomba Italiano, was a healthy double pour of gorgeous, glowing, fluorescent yellow liquid, yet another dead ringer for imported candy. A bar staffer cooling his forehead with a bottle of beer (snagged from a cooler stocked with imports and handcrafted domestics) replaced the sweaty bottle in the fridge for a later bar patron’s consumption. This episode seemed to be without repetition, however, and the staff on the whole possessed a heartening geniality and undeviating smiles. Of course it was too good to be true to expect the small black soap dispenser in the bathroom to contain even a drop of liquid at 1 a.m. It was also probably naïve to attempt the pump considering the late night state of emergency that had turned the ladies room floor into a white sea of paper towels. But golden lighting salvaged the episode, and a quick peek through an opened men’s room door revealed a smoky poker game of a bathroom, rich in gold and black. There was something comfortably cool and pleasant about experiencing attractive, expensive-looking people enjoying each other in such an opulent space. The three-layered cake of evening entertainment offered in Cibo/Gelo created a theatrical vortex. Leave it to the Northside to capitalize on the potential of vertical space in order to enhance luxurious design and redefine the nightspot for Indianapolis.

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