Whether you fancy glow sticks and pounding house music or penny drinks and booty cams, the Elm City does not disappoint.
With the addition of two new establishments in the past year, Risk and Alchemy/Lounge 215, New Haven clubs have begun to attract not only Yalies but also an older, urban crowd. These clubs, along with traditional hot spots Toad’s Place and BAR have made for a diverse and active clubbing scene in the city.
Although these establishments may not compare in reputation to New York City venues such as Twilo or Exit, they adequately serve both the student and local clientele.
“My goal is to build a world-class establishment and work with the market I’m in,” said Michael Brown, owner of Alchemy/Lounge 215. “It’s like anything you would find in New York, Chicago, or Las Vegas, just in Connecticut.”
Many Yalies have received both Risk and Alchemy/Lounge 215 with enthusiasm, as both have become student hot spots on weekends.
“Risk and Alchemy are more like real clubs,” Tim Penna ’02 said. “They definitely have a different feel to them. They both try to play the role of a big New York City club.”
Others have welcomed Risk and Alchemy/Lounge 215 because they offer a range of options.
“Risk has a really nice atmosphere,” Desiree Vargas ’04 said. “If you want to dance and get wild, you can. If you want to sit down and chill, you can do that too.”
Alchemy has proved equally appealing. With stylish features such as an illuminated waterfall, laser lights and a cheetah print ceiling, Alchemy offers traditional hip-hop and dance music, but also sponsors “Bang,” an alternative lifestyles night, on Wednesdays, and a Latin night on Sundays.
While Risk and Alchemy/Lounge 215 provide Yalies more choices, they have not taken away any business from Toad’s Place, booking director Heather Orser said.
Established 25 years ago, Toad’s has long been a mainstay in the New Haven and national entertainment scene. Doubling as a nightclub and a concert venue, Toad’s has in the past attracted major touring acts such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and U2.
After building a national reputation over the years, the club has accumulated a loyal Yale following, making it perhaps the most popular club among students.
“We’ve been here for 25 years, so the owners have experience and know how to run a nightclub,” Orser said. “Other clubs seem to come and go, but we’re always here and people know we’re open.”
Toad’s also hosts many Yale-related events, such as parties for the annual Harvard-Yale Game, as well as various fraternity and sorority functions.
“Toad’s is nice because it’s right by campus and it’s a nice gathering spot where you’ll likely run into lots of your friends,” Penna said. “It can be fun, but I think a lot of people go mainly to see everyone else.”
Although Toad’s may attract a large Yale crowd, some say frequenting the club can become monotonous.
“It’s really fun, but it can get old after a while,” Vargas said. “You end up seeing the same Yale people all the time.”