Monday, July 11, 2011

Photos: iLLUSiONS grand opening

The folks at iLLUSiONS, 6499 Veterans Parkway, were nice enough to invite me to Friday's VIP night. It was a pre-party for Saturday's official grand opening. Remember, this is the north Columbus hot spot formerly known as H2O (and before that, Muldoon's).

The bar's new owner didn't change much in the two-story nightclub's interior. Good move. Design-wise, it's one of the best bars in town. There's tons of space, and the lighting and sound systems are on par with what you'd see in much larger cities.

Our drinks were extremely affordable, and the employees -- women dressed in schoolgirl uniforms -- were all super nice. The challenge, of course, is getting customers to come back. Repeatedly.

Bars like iLLUSiONS face an added obstacle because they don't sit directly beside other nightclubs. Thus, patrons likely come with the expectation that they'll be there all night.

That's a mixed blessing. On one hand, you're not losing money to other bars. On the other hand, patrons are less tolerant of a bad experience at your venue.

Friday's VIP night included this snapshot-worthy moment: a bartender pouring a shot into a patron's mouth. Thirsty?

The bar's future depends on promotion. Too often, nightclub owners operate on a "build it and they will come" mentality.

Um, no. Flashing lights and a good sound system aren't enough to ensure a loyal customer base. You have to promote yourself and make patrons believe they're enjoying something they can't find anywhere else.

I'll definitely visit iLLUSiONS again. Maybe I'll even wear my schoolgirl uniform next time. Kidding.

(Thanks to Alan Riquelmy for taking the excellent photos!)