By Jennifer Koniuk
No matter where you stand in Status nightclub, you can see a flat screen television playing music videos, watch people on the dance floor, hear the music blasting and watch the lights flash before youreyes.
“I think that we have the type of population and type of city that’s conducive to a club scene,” said 22-year-old resident of Winston-Salem, Michael Grace, who enjoys the downtown club scene. “People want to get out and are tired of driving to Greensboro just to enjoy a good club scene.”
Grace, who has returned home to Winston-Salem to attend Wake Forest University School of Law after graduating from Yale University, thinks that the nightlife downtown improves every year and that it’s a lot better than it used to be.
“I think downtown wants [the nightclub scene] and needs it,” Grace said. “At some point people get tired of bars and need diversity and clubs promote the diversity people are looking for.”
According to downtown patrons, Status is one of three clubs downtown. The two other high-energy dance clubs include Therapy and Ziggy’s.
The president of the Downtown Partnership in Winston-Salem, Jason Thiel, has heard downtown patrons say that downtown is not a club scene but he thinks that the club industry is very volatile and that lots of the storefronts downtown are smaller spaces.
“I think that’s changing to some degree,” he said.
Status opened its doors on Fourth Street in July, inviting people to enjoy an environment with a live DJ, dance floor, VIP section, bar, 25 flat screen televisions and flashing lights.
“We try to be a higher-end nightclub,” said co-owner, Alex Womack.
Womack likes the Winston-Salem market and sees a bright future for nightclubs downtown. “I think it’s the beginning of high-end nightclubs in Winston-Salem,” he said.
According to Womack, the club is family-owned. Alex, his brother, Eric and father, Charles, bought out Elixir nightclub and renovated it to create Status. Charles Womack is also a co-owner of Ziggy’s nightclub and the owner of Yes! Weekly.
“We were nervous but with my dad’s experience in the club business we felt like we could do something they couldn’t do,” Alex Womack said. “We put a lot of money into renovating it to get a better product.”
Alex Womack, a graduate from UNC-Greensboro who lives in Greensboro, said that Winston-Salem was more of an appealing location than Greensboro.
“Both markets are good,” he said, “but it seems that Winston-Salem has less competition and the city seems to be much more accepting of bars and clubs.”
According to Nick VanderElst, the house DJ at Status, the club offers a true dance club and is geared for a Vegas-style feel.
“I’m used to playing in Vegas and we’ve got that higher-end Miami-Vegas style of a club,” VanderElst said. “We have the lighting and we have the sound.”
The genre of music varies each night but VanderElst said if he had to narrow it to two genresit would be top 40 in hip-hop and high-energy electronic dance music.
After only three months in business, Womack said that Status has had a lot of positive response and is currently working on attracting students from Wake Forest University and Winston-Salem State University.
Opie Kirby, owner of Finnigans Wake Irish Pub and Kitchen on North Trade Street, said that in some ways the bars and clubs downtown compete with one another.
“Status offers a dance environment and we can’t offer that,” he said. “We’re all competing for someone’s alcohol dollars but we all offer something that the other doesn’t.”
Published October 10th, 2013