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If you go to a nightclub that has women swinging on swings above the bar as part of the decor, you're probably going to have a good time. Bank on it. Such is the case at Candy (3030 Travis, Ste. D), a lounge that has become a favorite stopping point among first-adopting nightclubbers but is still somewhat unknown.
Candy is pleated into the corner of an otherwise unremarkable Midtown shopping strip. It's within reasonable walking distance of the bombastic Republika (2905 Travis) and serviceable Escobar (2905 Travis, Ste. A), and unreasonable walking distance to youngster haven Rich's (2401 San Jacinto) and the metallic Link Lounge (2901 Fannin). Some may remember it as Epic, the erroneously named club that was the space's previous tenant.
At times, Candy can feel like a club version of an Ed Hardy tee, what with all its decorative curly-cues. But even if its stylized cool isn't always appealing in practice, it's still among the city's most impressive venues to be carved out of a shopping center.
Soft light from chandeliers warms the room, the tufted taffeta walls are accented with diamond-like buttons, and the sparse lounge seating is done in microsuede. The dance floor is semi-quartered off by railing, but any open space is fair game if the DJ is particularly effective.
A large bar sits at the rear of the area, while an anterior bar services the front section as well as the venue's patio. All this creates, it appears, an environment that is dope.
"It's a dope atmosphere, cool people, good music," says Lloydriann Raven, a 25-year-old property manager who has been impressed enough with Candy to work regular Tuesday-night visits into her schedule, often staying until 2 a.m. despite being due at work early the next morning.
"I like to go to Republika on Fridays," she continues. "It's right across the street, but has a totally different vibe. They're both classy places, but Candy is a little more laid-back and less clubby. And the drinks are cheaper.
Raven adds she can breathe a little easier at Candy than other places too.
"Guys don't seem to really be here to pick up girls, just hang out and enjoy good music," she says.
The crowd at Candy can fluctuate slightly. The aforementioned Tuesday nights, for example, are called Tab Tuesdays and have grown into artists' networking events where the crowd skews "urban." Fridays and Saturdays, when Candy is busiest, are generally more racially mixed. Every day, however, the average age is closer to 21 than 31.
Candy can be a bar, lounge or club, but mostly it's a venue that's trendy when the room is packed and elegant when it's not. And it has girls on swings.
Can't beat that ancient Phoenician wisdom, yo.
From the "Letter of the Law" files: On one recent trip to Candy, we accidentally left our wallet at home. Generally this isn't a problem – we never drink when we go out, because $9 for a glass of liquid is preposterous in any setting – but this time it was. As he should, the door guy was asking to see the IDs of everyone that was entering the club. When greeted with an, "Oh, no, don't worry about it... not drinking," he said, as he also should, that it didn't matter. When told that we did not have it on us, he went into an elaborate undressing about how you should always carry identification, and legality this and TABC that. Minus the tone, he was entirely correct, and we were stuck in the curious position of being frustrated with someone who was doing his job effectively. It's a strange way to feel about someone; nobody's ever been mad at a surgeon for performing surgery too well or a Target cashier for giving back the correct amount of change. Being a door guy is tough. That's an obvious observation, but it's also a conditional one. Because sometimes they can kind of be dicks too.