Jupiter Hall. Photo by Ali Hibbs/TheSpot518
“It’s like Dave and Busters for adults, but on crack,” said Mike Cavanaugh, the general manager of Lucky Strike Social at Crossgates Mall. He pointed out that the games, restaurant and bowling lanes are suitable for children, but that they’re not the venue’s targeted customers. It’s past 11 p.m. on a Saturday night and Cavanaugh is overseeing the launch of a weekly electronic dance music (EDM) night —and the grand opening of Jupiter Hall, the venue’s 650-person performance space.
It’s an admittedly strange feeling to walk into a mall late at night on one’s way to what is essentially a rave—in a mall, in a video arcade/gastropub, with bowling lanes. It’s certainly a far cry from the empty warehouses and giant venues of years past. Need a break from the thumping house beats in the 650-person music hall? No problem, just go play a little skeeball or bowl a round.
“It’s really a big adult playground,” said Cavanaugh, leading the way down a blue-lit hallway past a uniformed doorman into Jupiter Hall. DJ Costa was well into his set and the dance floor vibrated with exuberant revelers alternately showered by bubbles and confetti canons, lit up by lazer lights and glow necklaces (handed out exclusively by hot girls), and tossing large blow-up animals around the space. Everyone was dressed to the nines in short skirts, sparkly heels and sport coats.
In the middle of the club space is an open VIP area, divided by an entrance to the dance floor, where guests receive bottle service and lounge on black leather couches. The bar at the back of the room has a good selection, if the bartender can manage to hear you over the DJ set. Heading out to the bar in the venue’s main area, however, is a nice way to compose oneself after an hour of solid dancing. (And skeeball.)
Even those of us who remember earlier days in the electronic music scene would have to admit: this place is pretty dope. Hell, most of us would have probably tried to book it immediately. The biggest drawback, frankly, is its location.
Honestly, the mall?
Yep. This, my friends, is the next evolution of mall—Mall 2.0. Via Port in Rotterdam, for instance, has redesigned Rotterdam Square Mall into a mixed use retail and entertainment zone that even includes an aquarium. The DestinyUSA mall in Syracuse offers indoor rope climbing, glow-in-the-dark golf and a mirror maze. As retail moves increasingly online, malls have been looking for ways to remain solvent and it seems that moving away from retail-only to mixed-use, entertainment-heavy models is the fix of choice. Visitors can still shop, but are also encouraged to stay and play. Across the county, malls have been adding a variety of entertaining attractions such as laser tag, go-kart courses, state-of-the-art gaming options, comedy venues, escape rooms, simulated skydiving and, apparently, dance clubs.
This Saturday, Oct. 22, you can check it out for yourself. DJ Dirty Dek, a prog house turntablist based out of Boston, will be rocking the decks from 10 p.m. until late night.