The recent change of the Monkey Bar on 2 Ives Street to Icon might go unnoticed early on a weeknight but going deeper into the night or the week breaks significantly with the past. “Before when it was the Monkey Bar, there would be 20 or 30 people on a Friday night. Now there’s about 300 or 400,” says manager Danny “Boy” Grene.
The population explosion, he believes, arises out of the new lounge like feel and the DJ spinning a very diverse mix compared to the old cover band format. Playing Hip Hop, Rock, Alternative and Techno has drawn in college age to young people in their late 20’s. “It’s a very clean crowd,” he says that has displaced the more hard edged group who were more likely to sport tattoos and chains.
That also speaks to the laid back, low-key nature of a group that’s not looking to make trouble. “I have two bouncers for 300 people, that goes right there to tell you,” he says of demeanor the new place holds.
He finds that they spend money, too but with WesConn right in their midst, Icon keeps the prices within a student’s means. “Wednesday night Icon goes minus the cover charge and keeps the suds flowing at $2 a pop,” he says.
Of course, aside from the chance to kick back and lounge it, Icon attracts a crowd that’s ready to step up and kick it in. “Once it starts going everybody is dancing,” says Danny Boy.
On the other hand, by the end of the evening, can everybody be dancing with the right somebody. “It’s really about good people,” he says, “but if you got game, you got game.” Otherwise, just stepping into the right shoes and shirt says something good, while being swept along with the rhythm should work fine – regardless of how many left feet you have.
“They’re a classier crowd,” he says, but “game” apparently is interpreted differently by each beholder. “I see kids in here that have no game, and they still walk away with some pretty hot chicks,” he says.
Whether such a thing can be learned is also up for discussion. “If it can be, you got to show me where because I need to get some myself,” he jokes.
As it is, it will no longer be found anymore wandering between Tuxedo’s and the new club. Not really the same party, it’s more an older crowd next door – so dual admission will take two cover charges. “We keep Tuxedo’s in Tuxedo’s and Icon in Icon,” he says.
That is except on certain VIP occasions. They’ll cut off one quarter of Tuxedos, offering bottles off the top shelf at a pretty good discount. “We’ll serve at $100 cheaper than anywhere else,” he says.
But the porch will mostly remain the same and help accommodate a 10 fold increase in people. “We can do about a hundred people on the porch, so it kind of loosens up the inside,” he says.
It then follows that the purse strings no longer have to be stretched so tightly with by the same group of friends who’ve held the spot for the last seven years. “It makes me a lot of money,” he says but also provides a good family feeling among them.
Work, though, and actual family for “Danny Boy” takes place during the day. Construction is the family business and helps him pay the bills. So as day gives way to night, not giving a hoot about the absence of light would be quite an understatement. “At night I turn into a night owl,” he says of hosting and running parties in the heart of a pretty hopping spot.
Kind of sad if “game” is something he somehow needs to find. It sounds a bit more like exhibiting the appropriate level of modesty. Of course, there’s no reason someone can’t be objective about themselves if pressed. “Do I have game,” he ponders the question aloud.
“I got game,” he says confidently, and there’s no reason Icon can’t leave you feeling the same way.
Rich Monetti interview of Danny “Boy” Grene.