Co-owner Mark Friedrich on Club Eclipse’s grand opening and the nuances of creating a space strictly for an under-21 crowd.
The call for under-21 teen clubs has risen in recent years as parents seek out safe spaces for their children to socialize and teens share their frustrations with being shut out of the live music and dancing that so frequently takes place at 21-and-over venues.
Max Friedrich sought to fill this gap in Northern Virginia by creating the area’s first teens-only nightclub.
“There was nothing around here for teenagers to do other than go to the mall or the movie theater,” Friedrich says. “So we wanted to provide a Vegas-style nightclub for teenagers that was high-end and upscale, where teens could come to socialize, dance, listen to music from our resident DJ or live bands and grab a meal.”
Opening this weekend, Club Eclipse extends from the impressive gaming area at the back of the dance floor to minute details like the USB ports scattered throughout the bar and walls that make charging devices a breeze. The glow-in-the-dark countertop of the bar, which Friedrich refers to as the “service counter,” was hand-poured by the owners themselves.
But with any nightclub, especially one targeted toward children, safety is paramount. In addition to banning large backpacks and handbags and instating a no re-entry rule, Club Eclipse will also have DOJ-certified security guards patrolling the area.
“We have eight high-definition cameras inside the club and two outside that will record the perimeter 24/7. These all have facial recognition and zoom capabilities, and police will be able to easily download the footage to USBs,” Friedrich says. “We also have the same walk-through metal detectors that were used at the inauguration. Anybody who’s looking to come and start trouble just won’t get in the door. We have a one-strike rule, so [if] you mess up once, you’re banned from the club.”
Kids between 15 and 17 are required to register online and obtain their parents’ written permission to be out past Prince William County’s curfew for minors, which kicks in at 11 p.m. Upon doing this, each teen will be issued an ID, and when that ID is scanned at the club, parents receive an email and a text notification. Entrants will be issued a colored wristband in accordance with their age so staff can distinguish between guests who are over and under 18.
The $15 cover charge will give patrons access to all aspects of the club except food and drinks, which can be purchased at the service counter.
Club Eclipse will also be available to rent for birthday and graduation parties, bar mitzvahs and other family-friendly events. // Club Eclipse: 5615 Wellington Road, Gainesville