Nestled in the mountains of the rural Pennsylvania countryside,
State Colleg is the last place one would expect to find a
blossoming nightlife scene. As home to Penn State University,
the town has an extra 40,000 residents for nine months out
of the year, and they want to party. Though the standard “college
bar” types have survived for decades by offering lowball
prices and insane drink specials, patrons are starting to
demand more upscale establishments – and they’ve
got the money to back it up.
Love Over Easy is State College’s newest hotspot, and
easily the best-looking of the bunch. The complex has three
separate levels: Candy is an underground lounge featuring
hot pink plastic stools, fire-engine-red tables, and a constant
’80s pop soundtrack. Hard candy at every table and all
over the bar complete the effect. Tony’s Big Easy is
a ground-floor bar and restaurant that’s been around
forever. And above the Big Easy is dance club Love (hence
the name “Love Over Easy”). Different nights bring
different formats, ranging from ’80s party tunes to
deep house tracks. Your standard hip-hop and Top 40 dance
tracks are also represented. Typical dress code is enforced,
and VIP areas are available with advance booking. An outdoor
patio overlooking the street below allows patrons to escape
for a breath of fresh air, while three full-service bars keep
the drinks flowing without missing a beat.
I was really surprised to hear about an upscale nightclub
opening in State College. To date, the only other nightclub
in town was depressing at best. I wasn’t expecting Love
to be any better.
We arrived around nine to ascend the lipstick-red stairwell
and pay our $3 cover (in State College, everything is cheap).
Having just opened, the entire place was deserted, which was
good for my photo shoot. An all-Martin Professional lightshow
(MX-10s, MAC-250 Kryptons, Atomic 3000s, and MAC-300s) piloted
by Martin LightJockey lit up the dancefloor, while LED color
washes kept the rest of the club coordinated. [Sound Stage
Systems did the install. –ed] The drink prices were
a little high for State College, which is to say a Long Island
Iced Tea set me back a whopping $2.
By ten, the crowd had picked up, and the place was absolutely
packed by 11. Ordinarily I’m not a fan of a shoulder-to-shoulder
dancefloor, but with the layout of the club, I had no trouble
moving around and getting to the bars or restrooms. Someone
put some real thought into keeping the crowd flexible around
the bars and restrooms. Even with a throbbing crowd in place,
the bartenders and waitresses all remembered what I was drinking
– very impressive.
Love Over Easy is definitely out of place for a rural Pennsylvania
nightclub. Anyone visiting the area and expecting a big-city
nightclub experience will get what they came for.
I went to Love Over Easy with two of my guy friends on a Friday
night. We got there waaayy too early because there were a
dozen people visible – including the staff! We claimed
some prime seating at the front bar and struck up a conversation
with the bartender over a few drinks. He assured us that things
would be getting busy in no time, and sure enough, as the
night progressed the ladies arrived and some fun dancing to
a mix of hip-hop and dance tracks ensued. The VIP areas were
not utilized, but the dancers on boxes were entertaining.
We finished off the night at the side bar watching the “video
wall” and the DJ do what they do best.
I don’t know what I expected to find, but a high-end
club definitely wasn’t it. Our only other club in town
was just an overgrown bar with a dancefloor, a busted sound
system, and some ancient lighting. Love Over Easy was so new
I could still smell the paint mixed in with the scent of hot
electronics being broken in. I love it!
We made our way to the deserted bar (note to self, don’t
listen to friends when they tell you “getting there
early” is a good idea) and started talking with the
staff. About an hour later the crowd started filtering in.
At one point I went out on the deck for some air and saw a
line snaked down the street – not a common occurrence
in this town (at least not at the club we usually hit up)!
The DJ started the night with ’80s dance tracks, moving
into Top 40 and hip-hop by midnight. Sadly my need for deep
house went unfulfilled, but I won’t mind coming back
again. If I had to make one complaint, it would be that the
house lights were way too bright. I think a lot of it came
from the giant projection screen above the far bar (showing
network TV, commercials and all). That’s the only thing
that would keep me from calling the club perfect. But hey,