At the ground-floor entrance to the newly renovated building on Mickey Mantle Drive, the increasingly impatient club goers are jockeying for attention from the doorman, who has been listening to pleas for entry since early in the evening. As a few exiting patrons file down the building's narrow stairway from the fourth-floor club or are disgorged from its elevator, the doorman makes a quick head count of the exiting party and allows the same number into the club.
Like the club's inspiration, Manhattan's Studio 54, the lines form for the purpose of moving to the insistent beats of disco music, seeing people and being seen, but it has been more than two decades since the heyday of that infamous haunt, and there is no "velvet rope."
The crowds aren't being kept at bay because they aren't stars or lack a required degree of fabulousness -- the place is simply packed to fire code levels, and Erin Watson, general manager of the three-week-old club, wants to stay in business. After all, who needs a velvet rope when you're sitting on a velvet gold mine.
"On the first Thursday that we opened up, we had a happy hour, VIP invitation-only party, and it went really well," Watson said. "Then, right out of the box, we had a line of people every night."
With its bright orange walls, mirror balls and posters of '70s and '80s icons ranging from "Starsky & Hutch" to Duran Duran and presurgical Michael Jackson, Bricktown 54 has the look and feel of the days when Andy Warhol and Bianca Jagger danced with Liz Taylor and Liza Minnelli on West 54th Street. The only difference is that the polyester count is considerably lower: while there are a few costumed maniacs brandishing their retro-sleaze best, most are outfitted in natural fibers.