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Phoenix rises from red to black
Wed, May 31, 2006
The exterior makeover reflects a marketing shift at the club to a higher-end clientele.
By DANIELA SIMUNAC, FREE PRESS REPORTER


Peter Newcomb, left, and Sean Siddiqui paint the red exterior of Club Phoenix black yesterday to match the newly renovated black and white interior in the downtown club. (Sue Reeve, LFP)

An eye-catching London nightclub building that made headlines when it was painted red is going black.

The new makeover at Club Phoenix, housed in a former downtown bank building, is part of a marketing shift.

"We're trying to spruce up our format," Markham Rooza, the club's general manager, said yesterday.

"We're looking to an older demographic that appreciates having a little more elegance."

The outside of the club building is being painted to match its interior, complete with zebra-print carpets and white drapery.

The bar is going for a more "elegant, loungey look," said Rooza.

The paint job began Monday and is likely to finish within "a day or so."

Painting was expected to begin earlier, but was stalled by the weather, said Rooza.

"Club Phoenix is trying to revive the nightclub scene in London that's been bombarded with pubs and beer halls," he said.

"(We're) catering to a higher-end crowd as opposed to the beer crowd," he said, saying the club is going for an overall "Toronto-Montreal kind of vibe."

In 2002, controversy erupted when the former Bank of Montreal building, constructed in 1954 to resemble a solid block of stone and considered an Art Deco architectural treasure, was painted red.

At the time, Ward 5 Coun. Cheryl Miller said she was "horrified" by the look.

"Maybe she'll like the black better," said Rooza.

Miller said yesterday she hasn't had a chance to see the club's latest look.

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