In the past year, a large movement towards the creation of the ultra-lounge has taken over Indy’s nightlife scene. All these clubs claim to have a distinct vibe, usually borrowed from the West Coast or South Beach, consisting of elite VIP rooms, sophisticated décor and influential clientele. Ice Lounge is one of the newest venues to take the reins of this fast-growing empire. Its entrance, located at 235 S. Meridian St., looks like any other wanna-be-hip bar trying to make it, but once inside one can feel the vision and dedication used to set this space apart from the rest.
Bryan, Mark, Jeff and I arrived at Ice Lounge’s grand opening with invitations in hand and a slight buzz in our heads. We were all accustomed to these exclusive events and expected the usual free martinis, VIP elbow rubbing and ritualistic business card exchanges. Jeff owned the space when it was Lotus and spent most of the ride there speculating how the new owner had changed the location.
In the elevator to the second floor, we were briefed by one of the VIP managers on the vibe of the new club. “It’s sophisticated and sexy,” she said.
Aren’t they all, I thought.
We stepped onto the main floor and as we strutted up to the bar, we all put on our game faces. Mark waved to some other elite he recognized. Bryan kissed a waitress on the cheek and took a free vodka shot. Jeff pointed out all the subtle color differences the club had undertaken. I just stood in the middle of their chaos breathing in the excitement.
Ice Lounge’s concept was designed by Patty Costlow, who has styled other successful clubs on the South Meridian strip. Costlow is known for her vibrant colors and luxurious fabric pairings and she has quickly catapulted to must-have status when club owners look for interior decorators. The main floor of the club is draped in deep chocolate brown leathers and royal blue suedes, a combination that helps warm and calm a crowd. The massive bar serves as a breakpoint between the swanky lounge area and the inviting dance floor. After downing a complimentary vodka/soda, I met my buds in the catering area. Mark had piled mounds of chicken on his plate and Jeff was picking from the sushi assortment on the long table. Bryan and I never eat at these things, and we suggested an adventure to the third floor, the VIP section.
The doors opened onto the third floor and my eyes adjusted to the darkness. The VIP room was drastically different from the well-lit, loud main floor. Models and moguls straddled the silver and cobalt blue beds that lined the right wall. Instead of the deafening beat of hip-hop music, the VIP room held the soft chatter of deals being made, the clanging of champagne glasses in toast mode and the faint laughter of Ice Lounge’s owner and visionary Crystal Black Davis.
I met her while taking a much needed sit on one of the comfy beds. The entrepreneur was all smiles and giggles as she raved about accomplishing her dream of owning a nightclub and how happy she was that I could make the event. I asked her how much a VIP bed would cost to rent for the night and after her “$150 to $500” answer, I quickly stood up from the bed I was resting on, excused myself and went in search of my friends.
We had a few more shots and made our goodbyes before returning to the first floor and searching for our coat check tickets. As I put on my coat, Jeff informed me that the first floor was going to be an upscale sushi restaurant, SOTR. I could tell he felt a little defeated by Ice Lounge’s success. Mark and Bryan were already walking out the door to valet and I started shoving Jeff toward the entrance. As we piled into Mark’s BMW, I took one last glance at Ice Lounge and wondered what adventures I would have there in the year to come. I prayed for its success and long standing in Indy’s nightlife community — a community that doesn’t take so well to change, a community that goes through clubs like I go through wine glasses. The space definitely has potential, but is potential enough to be Indy’s next big ultralounge? I definitely hope so.