The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

'80s-Themed Bar Culture Club Ready to Stage a Comeback in Midtown

By DNAinfo Staff on December 8, 2010 7:31am  | Updated on December 8, 2010 7:35am

By Jill Colvin

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MIDTOWN — Dust off those shoulder pads and dig those scrunchies out of the drawer: Culture Club is staging a comeback.

The '80s-themed dance club and its famed Pac-Man logo are plotting a return, this time setting their sights on a 15,000 square-foot warehouse space in Midtown’s Garment Center.

The original Culture Club on Varick Street closed its doors in 2007 after eight years of nostalgia, bachelorette parties and girls' nights out. But unlike most shunted nightclubs that fade from memory, owners said the club's website was still averaging more than 5,000 monthly visitors more than a year later.

Now they're hoping for a follow-up hit at 20 W. 39th St. between Fifth and Sixth avenues, the former home of Club Speed, which has been vacant for three years.

The club's planned Fashion District location at 20 W. 39th St. is currently vacant.
The club's planned Fashion District location at 20 W. 39th St. is currently vacant.
View Full Caption
DNAinfo/Jill Colvin

Owner Robert Watman, who also lives in the neighborhood, said the club offers party-goers a unique blend of "good, clean fun."

"It's a safe, easy place, non-threatening," said Watman, who also owns the '70s-themed Polly Esther's and the '90s-themed Nerveana.

According to plans obtained by DNAinfo, the new club features four floors, three bars and a rooftop for smoking, and would host regular club nights, '80s and '90s-themed parties and corporate events.

In addition, Watman has joined forces with fashion designer and Garment Center advocate Nanette Lepore and plans to showcase young designers' work and hold special Fashion Week events in the space.

But not everyone is rooting for Culture Club's return.

Mara Pavel, 54, who manages the Elite Day Spa next door to the proposed space, said having another club open where Club Speed once stood would be a nightmare for her business.

"It was horrible," she said of her experience with Club Speed, recalling inebriated patrons hanging out on her doorstep and loud music that interrupted facials at all hours.

"We’re a spa. We're supposed to be serene and calm, but you could hear the music all the time," assistant manager Ingrid Gociu, 25, said.

Watman tried to assure residents that, after 30 nightclub openings over the past 30 years, he had no plans to ruffle neighborhood feathers.

"It's not my first rodeo," he said.

Nicholas Athanail, the Public Safety Committee chair of Midtown's Community Board 5, praised Watman and said he had no concerns "whatsoever" with the plan.

The Committee voted unanimously to grant the Culture Club a liquor license at its monthly meeting last week.

The full Community Board 5 is now set to vote on the proposal at its monthly meeting Thursday at 6 p.m.