Around the Scene: August 20, 2009

Forbes released a new study looking at the best cities for singles in 2009 and included nightlife as one of seven determining categories for its methodology, based on “The number of restaurants, bars and nightclubs per capita in each standard metropolitan area,” using data provided by AOL City Guide. While Las Vegas ranked number 1 in the nightlife category, some interesting cities ranked in the top 10, including in order: Milwaukee; Portland, Ore.; New York City; Buffalo, N.Y.; Cleveland; Virginia Beach, Va.; Seattle, Pittsburgh and Miami. See the full list here.

Britain’s largest nightclub operator, Luminar, announced plans to take advantage of depressed market conditions by raising nearly $59 million to open as many as 14 new establishments within the next calendar year. This includes four new outposts for its Oceana club chain and 10 new locations for its Liquid brand, which would bring Luminar’s total to 102 venues in the UK. "We have first mover advantage to acquire and develop sites at preferential rates. There are attractive property opportunities and development costs have reduced," Chief Executive Stephen Thomas told Reuters. He also said the fundraising is all about expansion and rumors about the company’s dire financial situation were simply rumors. "I'm not denying it wasn't tight but we were never in danger."

House of Comedy, a new comedy club in Minnesota’s Mall of America, opened last week in hopes that the comedic spotlight would attract local entertainment dollars. The project was spearheaded by comic and former Travel Channel host Rick Bronson, who launched House of Comedy after six years of operating another mall-based comedy club in Alberta’s equally behemoth West Edmonton Mall. The $2 million venue offers 25-foot ceilings and a VIP section. The club is an attempt to carve out a niche in the Twin City’s troubled nightlife scene; so far this year, downtown Minneapolis has seen Visage, Trocaderos, Axis, Element and Bellanotte nightclubs close.

An Australian nightclub has been busted for pouring moonshine … err … “an ethanol-based beverage” as premium vodka. Two people were arrested, and distilling equipment and full and empty bottles of the grog were confiscated. Customers who tasted a difference tipped off police to the scheme.

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