The disco ball is no longer spinning and the dance music has stopped at CityWalk as Bricktown’s largest and oldest nightclub has closed its doors after a 14-year run.
The multi-venue night club, spread out over 30,000 square feet at the Mideke Building, 100 E Main, was and remained the only venue to feature multiple themes under one roof, at times including a country-western club, dueling piano bar, wine bar and a comedy club. When it closed, it included a disco, modern music dance hall, karaoke bar, live band room and martini lounge.
The building is being redeveloped as the new home of Tapstone Energy, a company launched last fall by Tom Ward.
CityWalk owner John Bartholomew hosted a final night for the club on Saturday and is uncertain where, when or if it will reopen in the future.
“It’s been very successful and very good to us,” Bartholomew said. “But the building use is changing. CityWalk did not close for lack of business. Our Saturday night was as busy as the first night it opened. It’s still a popular place.”
Bartholomew still owns and will continue to operate Michael Murphey’s Dueling Pianos, 25 S Oklahoma Ave.
“One thing that has made it popular is the Academy of Contemporary Music (which is part of a the University of Central Oklahoma and owns the building). “It’s a good fit for us, and we’re able to hire some of the musicians from the school. It’s a popular, nonsmoking fun deal.”
The closing of CityWalk, however, falls in line with an effort by some property owners and civic leaders to de-emphasize nightclubs in the entertainment district. Nightclub operators changed names (RokBar, Club Social, Moonshiners) and concepts (dance clubs, live music) after two murders and numerous assaults on the premises at 115 E California Avenue. Property owners including Rob Farrah at the JDM Building have ended leases with other nightclubs saying they would no longer welcome such tenants in their buildings.
Area bars, including Michael Murphy’s, Skinny Slims, Captain Norm’s and TapWerks, have faced less criticism in Bricktown and are associated with less crime than the nightclubs.
Zach Martin, a partner in Mideke Building LLC., said a $9 million redevelopment of the building required that it be fully vacated. Construction is set to start next month.
Martin said the renovation should be completed by March 2015. He is hoping to fill the first floor with retail and restaurants.
“We believe that Main Street is coming alive,” Martin said. “We see the Holiday Inn Express opening across the street as a big move forward. We see Skinny Slims as a positive for the street. I believe we can make Main Street more of a retail corridor, so we are seeking out shops for the first floor and we want a restaurant for the corner space.”
Andy Burnett, also a partner in Mideke Building LLC., said he sees Tapstone as a good fit with Bricktown's evolving character.
“If you look closely at most of the great entertainment districts around the country, you'll notice that they offer diversity in amenities,” Burnett said. “Housing, retail, restaurants, office space and hotels are all critical to making a great urban mixed use district. How cool is it that within one block Bricktown has the UCO school of music hipsters and the corporate headquarters of Tapstone Energy? We think Tom and Tapstone will be a great addition to solidifying the diversity of Bricktown and really making this a great place to be during the week as well as on the weekends.”