Dance club

The owners of Void hope to open a new Casper dance club for adults; ask the city to change the rules of the bottling club

CASPER, Wyo.– The owners of The Void, a downtown venue catering to teens and young adults, hope to open a second downtown location that would be a place where adults can dance, DJ sets and other activities.

A name for the new venue has not been decided, but the owners have identified a space in downtown Casper where they will seek to provide nightlife options for people between the ages of 21 and 35, Seth Hollier said Monday. The Void, owned by Hollier, Brecken Burke and Turner Logan, would continue to offer alcohol-free activities for those under 21.

The idea for the new nightclub would allow people to bring their own alcohol. For that to happen, Hollier said some changes to Casper’s municipal code restricting the operation of bottling clubs would be required.

After The Void opened, Hollier said a frequent question was whether the owners planned to obtain a liquor license for the space.

“It goes against our whole vision of space,” Hollier said.

The Void’s vision was to give young people something to do at night that didn’t involve alcohol, Hollier said. People asking for a nightclub type space where adults could consume alcohol, the idea is to open a separate space that would allow that.

Still, the new space would seek to minimize the focus on alcohol while allowing it to be an option for people, Hollier said. The idea would be to allow people to bring a limited amount of their own alcohol into a space that focuses on the environment and activities in a way that discourages excessive drinking, he added. .

Operating a limited-profit business on a BYOB model would avoid making alcohol a central focus of the new club, Hollier said.

“Our focus and motivation is strictly on the atmosphere, the music and the art that we will bring to this space rather than making a profit from liquor sales,” he said. “This is hopefully just the start of a larger vision we have for Casper – offering an alternative approach to the standard mode of drinking within city limits.”

As for what the downtown space itself would offer, Hollier said it would feature lighting similar to that offered at The Void. There would be an elevated space for a DJ to perform from above to a crowd of people below, giving people a taste of the nightlife they might find in big cities.

“The approach we’ve taken is trying to introduce a more social aspect to the nightlife atmosphere, as opposed to people going out strictly to consume,” Hollier said. “Limiting the amount of alcohol you can consume means you don’t have an unlimited, endless supply of booze that you can get at the bar. That means you’ll hopefully go your own way and not drink to a point where you’re so drunk it’s not really fun anymore.

Hollier said he understands the proposed BYOB location is permitted under Wyoming law, but some changes would be required to Casper’s municipal code. He plans to approach the city council with the proposal on Tuesday to explain to them and ask them to consider changing the existing ordinances.

Existing orders must have been put in place for some reason, Hollier said. Therefore, what he would like to see is an examination of why these ordinances were established. Hollier said he hopes the rules can be revamped in a way that continues to avoid anything undesirable related to jamming clubs while still allowing for the kind of measured space he and his partners envision.

That could involve tweaking the ordinance to allow BYOB business models to work while limiting the amount of alcohol customers could bring into the space, Hollier said.

There are other places in Wyoming that operate on a BYOB model, usually in the form of restaurants that allow people to bring their own alcohol to accompany meals, Hollier said.

“Let’s start a conversation about how we can operate in a legal capacity with city oversight,” Hollier said. “Because what I don’t want to do is provide a mechanism for other establishments who may not have the same goals as us to circumvent liquor laws as a way to open and to operate an establishment that is really focused on, you know, direct consumption.

“So the conversation is really: let’s start by understanding what the original concerns of the city that put the ordinance in place were and make sure those are still addressed while also tweaking the ordinance in a way that allows to people who may not really focus on alcohol to be able to operate.

One concept that Hollier said he wants to introduce into Casper’s vocabulary is “light booze.”

“The goal is alcohol-free,” he said. “I think allowing small consumption without the risk of abuse is the big need on our side. We’d love to have that conversation with the city about what those kinds of metrics are.

The new site’s business model would not seek to reap large profits, but rather pay for things like staff, space and utility bills, Hollier said.

“We operate in low-profit or non-profit capacities to be able to provide services to the community,” Hollier said. “There aren’t a lot of people doing what we do and our goal is not to generate huge profits on the business. It’s really about being able to provide us with a way to pay bills, pay staff, and pay utilities to allow us to continue to operate and provide that kind of service to the community.

The Void operates as a low-profit business and recently launched a nonprofit that allows it to work with organizations like CASA of Natrona County and other nonprofits, Hollier said.

“With the current economic situation, anything that allows young people or underserved communities to have a space, activity or event that they can attend for free is vitally important,” he said.

Hollier said Monday he wasn’t quite ready to announce the exact location of the new adult-oriented venue, but said it would be downtown.

“At this point we are ready to go,” he said. “We have identified a building. We are already in the process of getting this contract and the owner of the building is 100% on board with what we are doing. The stopgap is whether or not the city believes in this vision and is interested in seeing change inside the city.

“Our focus has been and will be on downtown and on downtown revitalization.”