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SEE IT: Retro Dance Club For 35+ Crowd Opens in Chelsea

By Maya Rajamani | August 31, 2017 9:45am
 RetroClubNYC offers an alternative to the city's "celebrity hip-hop clubs," owner Jeff Wittels said. 
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CHELSEA — Not in this house.

Club-goers expecting to hear pulsating house music at the newly opened RetroClubNYC on West 23rd Street better take their glow sticks elsewhere, as they will instead be greeted by songs from the likes of Donna Summer, the Bee Gees, Madonna and France Joli.

The club, which last week officially opened its doors at 161 W. 23rd St., between Sixth and Seventh avenues, offers an alternative to the city's “celebrity hip-hop clubs” for 20-somethings — catering instead to the 30- to 35-plus crowd, owner Jeff Wittels told DNAinfo New York on Wednesday.  

“The music is pretty much what we said it was going to be — it’s '70s, '80s '90s, to today,” Wittels said. “It’s a lot about recognition — playing a song that people knew from back in a time when they used to go out.”

And the speakers are “everywhere” — from the bathrooms and hallways to the dance floor at the back of the venue, Wittels said.

The front of the club functions as a lounge area with a few velvet-covered seating nooks, while the back boasts a “disco dance floor” with a DJ booth and stage.

A long bar that stretches along the side of the space offers drinks like “Retrotinis” — the club’s version of a martini — Red Devils and other throwback drinks, while the kitchen serves appetizers like shrimp cocktail, crab cakes, and chips and guacamole.

“A lot of people who don’t go out all the time, when they do go out, they want somewhere to go, and if they want to go dancing it’s like, ‘Well, where are we going to go dancing? Are we going to go to 1Oak? Are we going to go to Cielo?’” Wittels said.

“I’ve been to those clubs — you’re going to get house music,” he said. “What are you going to hear? Not a whole lot.”

Wittels' club — which opens at 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday this week — is currently only playing recorded music, but will likely start hosting live performances in October, he said. 

The venue has seen mostly 30-plus-year-old patrons since it opened, but a handful of 20-somethings have passed through, too.

“We’re not going to alienate any age range,” said Wittels, who doesn’t plan to shy away from playing new music along with older classics, as long as it “has the style of the old music.”

“There’s a ton of people who are in their 20s who listen to their parents’ music, and they know a lot of the stuff, and they’re excited by it, too,” he added.

Wittels, who owned a music entertainment company in the '70s and '80s, previously told DNAinfo opening the venue marked the realization of “a lifelong dream.”

“We’re excited to be open, I’ll tell you that,” he said. “It’s all about making everyone happy.

“People come in, they’re like, ‘Wow, I know that song. It’s so great.’”