Get ready to duck. There's a disco-ball barrage brewing on the Richmond Strip. Polly Esther's, an upscale '70s- and '80s-themed dance club chain with franchises in Austin and eight other locations nationwide, has moved into the former Rock Bottom Brewery, much to the chagrin of another retro-trendy nightclub, Boogie Nights, just across the street. Polly Esther's had its grand opening last week, and you can bet Boogie Nights general manager John Young will be monitoring its progress very, very closely.
Aside from its fancier digs and the mere fact that it's brand new, Polly Esther's also has a Spandexed leg up on Boogie Nights with its dual-decade premise. (With the recent resurgence in '80s nostalgia, why not have all your bases covered?) But Boogie Nights' Young sees the challenge posed by Polly Esther's opening in his neighborhood as considerably more than just a little friendly competition.
"The reason that they're going in across the street from us is because we put them out of business in Chicago and Fort Lauderdale," Young says. "It's sort of a personal thing."
Polly Esther's New York-based co-creator Tim Ouelette flatly denies Young's contention, saying that there was nothing personal behind choosing the location they did. "I'm flabbergasted; Chicago is our number one location," Ouelette says in response to Young's comment. "I would never make a decision based on personal feelings."
Possibly adding to Boogie Nights' woes, its Northwest Houston location was just sold (though it's likely to remain Boogie Nights for the time being). Word is, its sister club on the Strip may not even hang around long enough to put up a fight with Polly Esther's. Young, for his part, dismisses those rumors: "We've known this has been coming for quite a while. We've got some strategies."
Naturally, Young refuses to expand on said tactics. Sounds suspiciously like the last days of disco for Boogie Nights.
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