NXT set to reopen in Club Chelsea space on mall | AspenTimes.com

NXT set to reopen in Club Chelsea space on mall

Janet Urquhart

Seekers of Aspen’s night life will have another spot to hit the dance floor, perhaps as soon as this weekend, with the reopening of NXT in the former Club Chelsea space on the Hyman Avenue mall.

Partners Tommy Tollesson and Gunnar Sachs, who ran NXT (pronounced “next”) for 10 months on the Cooper Avenue mall, have arranged to lease the former Club Chelsea space through April. They plan to revive their old nightclub in a spot too ideal to sit vacant for the winter, given Aspen’s reputation as a party town, Tollesson reasoned.

“This is such a great space. It would be a shame for it to be closed. It would be a shame for Aspen,” he said.

The new NXT will be much like the old NXT, according to Tollesson, who was busy yesterday wrapping up details like the liquor license for the new club.

“It’s the NXT concept, the NXT people and the NXT Deejays,” he said. “Inherent in the name NXT is we’re movable – from one place to the next.”

Colin Marshall, former bar manager at the old NXT, will manage the new club, along with Ali Hematyar, former bar manager for 39 Degrees at the Sky Hotel and former general manager of 426. Christian Bayard will be back in the NXT DJ booth.

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“We’re going to play the latest in European house music,” said Tollesson, a native of Sweden.

The former Club Chelsea space offers two dance floors. In front, where the former club often hosted live music, Bayard will keep things “loud, fast and clubby,” according to Tollesson.

The rear dance floor, a disco under Club Chelsea management, will become a martini and champagne lounge with a DJ providing a much softer sound. Tollesson calls it the “chill room.”

The new NXT will be a smoke-free venue except for the separate smoking lounges that existed during Club Chelsea’s days.

Tollesson and Sachs operated the first iteration of NXT in the subgrade space on Cooper Avenue that was formerly Hannibal Brown’s. It closed when their 10-month sublease expired in September.

The nightclub operation enjoyed a successful winter, but the restaurant operation was a struggle, according to Tollesson.

“People don’t want to eat in a nightclub,” he said.

The new NXT will function solely as a club, with some snack-type foods available. With the exception of special events – Vogue magazine, X Games and Gay Ski Week parties, for example – NXT will be open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights through the ski season.

Tollesson is hoping to attract fans of the first NXT, along with former Club Chelsea patrons. Those who used to hang out at the now-defunct 426 may find the martini/champagne lounge at the new NXT to their liking, he added.

Tollesson and Sachs also own Elevation, a Hopkins Avenue restaurant that hosts occasional late-night dance parties. With the reopening of NXT, the dancing at Elevation will be limited, though a New Year’s Eve event is planned there.

Throughout the season, those who dine or have drinks at Elevation will receive a voucher to escape the cover charge and the line at the door at NXT, Tollesson said.

The former Club Chelsea closed in Aspen in October after a nearly four-year run, though the club’s flagship establishment in Vail remains open. Operators cited declining business in Aspen in closing the club’s doors here.

The former NXT space on the corner of Cooper Avenue and Galena Street is now home to Mecca, a nightclub and restaurant that debuted earlier this month, operated by Jeremy Guterman.

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