Scarfone announces name change for club in wake of shooting

Nightclub owner Rocco Scarfone said in a press conference today that the N Club will remain closed for repairs, and will reopen under a new name and a new format on Nov. 27 under the name Allure.

The current hip-hop format will give way to what Scarfone called “the hottest music nationwide from rock to pop,” and the club owner suggested the new venue will aim for a classier clientele. Using Triad market radio stations as a reference point, Scarfone said the current format at the N Club is akin to 102 JAMZ, while the new format at Allure will be closer to 1075 KZL.

“It will be a club as if you see in Las Vegas,” he said. “Dress code will be strictly enforced. Age group will change. 21 and over. It will be a club that doesn’t run three-dollar drink specials. It will be a dance club. It will play dance hits nationwide.”

Scarfone said he retained a consultant about three months ago to help determine the future of the N Club, which helped revitalize downtown Greensboro and establish the area as an entertainment destination under previous owner Joey Medaloni. After the N Club received a raft of negative publicity with a shooting that took place nearby last month, Scarfone said he decided to accelerate the makeover.

Scarfone said he also plans to open an upscale wine and tapas bar called Social in downtown Greensboro.

Florence Gatten, a former Greensboro city council member who operates a public relations company, emceed the press conference, which was held at the Carolina Theatre. Former Mayor Keith Holliday, who is president of the Carolina Theatre, also attended the press conference. Scarfone’s promotions company maintains a partnership with the Carolina Theatre, and the promoter said he is finalizing dates for performances by Sheryl Crow and Tom Jones at the Carolina.

Scarfone reiterated an earlier pledge to improve security at his nightclubs by hiring a consultant to draft a handbook, and said he would step up efforts to vet security employees through background checks. Scarfone said he would like to form a club association to improve industry practices and advocate their position.

“The N Club’s name, absolutely, the biggest name, the most established name, a club that’s been here forever, and they’re called out as if they are the only problem club,” he said. “The statistics show differently. So I gather that if there is a call to close a club then the call would be across the board to close all the clubs. Especially, how can you call the number-three club and not close the number-one and number-two. Now, is that the solution? No, it’s not. The solution is, let’s be proactive. Let’s be safer. Let’s all be on the same page, and all get together. Let’s form a club association, a downtown association. To close anything when there are taxes to be paid, mortgages to be paid and people who need jobs — why would we do that in today’s economy?”

Scarfone noted that the N Club ranks third among Greensboro nightclubs in calls for police service over the past six months, behind Greene Street Club and Inferno.

A setback occurred for Scarfone when the news broke that police are investigating yet another shooting, which took place at LAX Gentleman’s Club on Martin Luther King Drive in the early morning hours of Sunday. Police designated the back parking lot of the strip club as a crime scene and reported that crime scene investigations, the criminal investigations division, vice-narcotics and the mobile command post were on the scene.

Scarfone said today that he closed LAX last night to allow police to conduct their investigation, but it will reopen tonight at 9 p.m. He is in the process of trying to sell the club, and said he notified the prospective buyer of the shooting. In response to the shooting, Scarfone said he has ordered security to conduct a search of cars entering the parking lot before allowing patrons in the club. In contrast to what took place at the N Club last month, Scarfone said a physical altercation at LAX spilled out into the parking lot.

Asked if he thought there was anything that could have been done to prevent the shooting that occurred near the N Club, Scarfone said his employees had taken all the precautions that they could. He said that his security currently subjects patrons to a hand wand procedure and pat-down to prevent weapons from being brought into the club.

“A verbal, not a physical altercation occurred inside,” he said. “There were two groups. Our security told one group to leave. That group left — I wasn’t there — but I’m told that they said some things that you can’t print in a newspaper. The bottom line is it wasn’t very nice. It was something to the effect of ‘we will take our blankety-blank money and go spend it at Inferno. They went across the street and went to Inferno. These people were at the Inferno. The other guys left and started walking towards February One Place. That’s when the shooting took place.

“In hindsight,” he added, “I don’t know what could have been done differently.”

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