New club, Jax, opens in Flagstaff

 
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BY JILL GULOTTA —

Flagstaff’s new dance club, Jax, opened its doors on September 5. The 18 and over dance club is outfitted with multiple dance floors, bars, DJs and floors.  Jax has moved into what used to be The Mad Italian (known locally as Mad I). Jax is a new take on the downtown scene, with new management and a fun atmosphere.

Owner Brandon Wendt, an NAU graduate, bought the entire building in mid-August. Wendt, a real estate agent and contractor, worked with his business partner in renovating the building in just three weeks. Wendt decided to return to Flagstaff for his newest endeavor because he enjoyed going to Mad I when he was a freshman and wanted to give the newest generation of underage students the chance to enjoy a night out.  For the 21 and over crowd, Jax will have its own drink specials, but nothing is decided as of yet; in the meantime, Jax will have random drink specials — opening night had $3 you-call-its.

Wendt explained how the dance club will have specials similar to the well-established bars downtown.

However, Wendt said, “We want to become a part of downtown; we aren’t out there to dominate.”

The two bars are stacked with the usual array of liquor and beer; the bar in the main entrance area is small, although the other part of the building, currently closed due to construction, will open within the next few weeks, with a bar the length of half the building. Up the stairs is another bar, a little larger than the first and an entire outside patio dedicated to dancing. This bar has a separate DJ, playing his own music, a dance floor and scattered tables and chairs.

Samantha Durfee, a senior theater major, and a group of friends hung around the patio.

“It’s a cool concept. I like the outdoor thing, because it gets hot in the clubs,” Durfee said.

Although the patio and second level is off limits to the underage crowd, there is an entire room set up like a dance club, similar to something seen in Las Vegas. The large dancing area is equipped with strobe and colored lights, a fog machine and a chest-pounding sound system. Open to everyone in the club, there is a mix of underage and 21 and over dancers. Drinks from the bar are not allowed into the dancing area, but there is a non-alcoholic bar inside offering energy drinks, soda and water.  Black leather benches and booths line the walls for spectators to watch everyone on the large dance floor and the three mirrored-back raised stages.

Unknown to a lot of students so far, Jax was not packed opening night, but many people, a large number of them students, came out to dance and drink.

Courtney Butkis, a senior speech pathology major, went with friends on opening night.

“I loved the atmosphere and the music was awesome. [I] would definitely go again,” Butkis said.

Jax is open Thursday through Saturday, from 10 p.m .to two a.m. It’s located at 101 South San Francisco Street. Cover for 21 and over is free, 18 and over is $5 for females and $10 for males.

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