Don’t laugh, TVFury readers in New York City and other major metropolitan areas, but a hot, new club has opened in Sioux Falls.
At least, I think Icon Lounge is similar to what passes for a “hot, new club” in places that have such things. (We probably need to call in Wilmer Valderrama to verify.) It definitely seems modeled after one. There’s house music that’s loud enough to drown out conversations, but no real dance floor. A gigantic bar is surrounded by very few places to sit although adjacent to some leather furniture. There’s a second bar outdoors. The industrial decor is offset by strands of color-changing lights and projected images of iconic entertainers. Likewise, the few TVs in the building aren’t showing, say, highlights of Roy Oswalt, but still pics of Roy Orbison. And there’s bottle service. (But, no, I didn’t participate. I am, after all, a journalist, and on this night, one on furlough. I settled for a $4 Boulevard.)
I checked out Icon on the official opening night, part of a sizable crowd on an an unseasonably warm Friday night. Went there with a couple of slightly younger friends, who are hip enough if not official hipsters. We had fun – at least, I did – in part because the people-watching was outstanding. From the after-work crowd in suits to the late-arrivals in hats and hoodies, the crowd was the definition of eclectic. And as much as they seemed to be exploring the place, the place was sort of exploring them, too.
That is: You couldn’t help but wonder what the regular crowd will look like once Icon has been around long enough to have a regular crowd. Sioux Falls, if you’ve never been there, has an abundance of young professionals. The eduction level is pretty high as is the disposable income, most of which seems to be spent on food and drinks. Eating out is the thing to do no matter your tax bracket.
But Icon appears to be a place where you go to be seen (whatever that means in the Dakotas), purportedly catering to the crowd that likes getting gussied up to go somewhere fashionable. Of course, this is hardly ground-breaking detective work. There were plenty of supporting comments on Twitter, many of them overtly negative. (One of the more popular putdowns rhymes with sea hag. On a related note, when did that become a publicly acceptable phrase? I’d argue based on imagery alone it’s one of the dirtiest ones out there yet nobody bats an eyelash at it anymore. You know? And yes, I’ve used it before, too.) That’s fine. I get it. Not everyone likes Indian food, for example.
To be honest, I’m not crazy about curry, either. However, I’m not always in the mood for pizza. Sometimes I feel like Chinese or a burger. More than enjoying any one cuisine, I like having options. That’s where I think Icon does have a place in the largely down home Sioux Falls market, which is just big enough to support almost one of everything. There’s nothing else here like it. While it’s probably not the first place I’d meet a buddy to watch a game, being as that’s impossible, my wife might select it as a nice alternative for a rare night without the kids.
So I hope Icon does well. It’s a nice spot, and the ownership group seems to have an interesting vision and the gumption to take a risk in a fairly conservative city. More importantly, I hope people just let it be. Check it out. Or don’t. Either way, just be cool about it, pun intended. Tastes are right or wrong, they’re merely different.
Besides, isn’t the most interesting dude the one who can make himself at home in a big-city biker bar and an upscale lounge in a small town?
(Getting down from my soapbox …)