In my vast stretch of San Antonio nightlife hijinks, I've come across a club or two that epitomize the following experience: posh, hip ambiance paired with deafening Top 40 remixes, bottle service, a dance floor loaded with lights, and plenty of chic seating for lounging and socializing, of course. Ivory Lounge delivers all of the aforementioned fundamentals of the burgeoning hybrid dance club/bar/lounge trend, but unlike some of its counterparts that can gouge the pocket, this club strives to be a "nice place where you don't have to spend a lot of money."
Located on the northwest side of town, in the North Oaks Shopping Center on Fredericksburg Road (outside of the loop), Ivory definitely achieves such ambitions. As the name implies, the place is mostly devoid of any color. The abundance of contemporary leather sofas, bare walls, and the bathrooms (which are immaculate, by the way) are all white. It's got a futuristic-mod look, which reminded me of The Korova milk bar from A Clockwork Orange, minus the furniture in the shape of naked women and milk laced with drugs.
Now imaginative narcotic milk aside, on Fridays you can drink anything you want for $3, including their specialty martinis, which normally would set you back eight bucks. The martini menu ranges from the popular Cucumber-Melon to Sexual Chocolate, and inspired me to drink outside of my comfort zone (I prefer mine dry, very dirty, and with gin). I tried the Ivory-Tini: Stoli Vanilla Vodka, DeKuyper Crème de Cacao, with Godiva white chocolate — topped off with chocolate powder. Again, I'm set in my ways as far as martinis are concerned, but this one wasn't bad: smooth and just sweet enough.
The super friendly and accommodating staff really makes the place. The bartender was knowledgeable and attentive, and at one point manager Lindsey Shiran tended to patrons while skating around on roller skates, waving firecracker sparklers. But like most club-lounge hybrids about town, the music was exactly what I expected. A headache-inducing mix of Top 40, some techno-y stuff, and even that gem of a song "Shots" with Lil Jon and LMFAO enthusiastically screaming "shots!" over, and over, and over, again. The bartender offered me a blue sweet tart shot, which I gladly accepted so I could tolerate the song about shots.
The DJ that night was … let's just say — creative — and even mixed Yeah Yeah Yeahs' "Heads Will Roll" into an amped-up Jersey Shore-style tune, only to turn it into a chopped and screwed version of something else that left me feeling perplexed. There was an occasional break from the typical club jams, with "Are You Gonna Go My Way" by Lenny Kravitz, and even a remix of Bryan Adams' "Summer of '69."
Not exactly in the dancing mood, I decided to people watch at the bar and came across two dudes who ordered the same brand of celebrity endorsed vodka. I wondered if they were as vapid as their preference in alcohol, but didn't stick around to find out. Soon thereafter I decided to call it a night, mostly because I didn't want to run the risk of hearing another Lil Jon song. Luckily, I had impeccable timing and left as Tupac's "How Do You Want It" played. And yes, that's how I wanted it.*
5152 Fredericksburg Rd
* Original version of the story wrongly identified Tupac's song as "However You Want It."