LAKEWOOD RANCH -- A new late night hot spot for teenagers in Manatee County is set to open in Lakewood Ranch next weekend.
Felice Flammia, the owner of Club Tantra, has been doing sound checks and preparing the dance floor for the Aug. 2 grand opening of the new nightclub for teens. The club is located on Lena Road directly across from the Strike Zone.
Flammia, a Sarasota resident originally from Staten Island, said she was inspired by her son, Kenneth, 16, and daughter, Danielle, 14, to open an entertainment spot geared towards teenagers looking to have fun nights out while making memories in a safe environment.
"My house was the house where all the kids would hang out," Flammia said. "I didn't mind because it was safe, but they needed something to do."
The 3,200-square-foot night club will accommodate nearly 200 teenagers. The hours for August will be Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Club Tantra will only be open Friday and Saturday nights during the school year, although Flammia said she is willing to add more nights around holiday weekends and breaks.
Club Tantra will feature a live DJ, a dance floor with color-changing lights, a soda bar with Coke products and snacks and a VIP area with tables, televisions, waitresses and glowing ice buckets for the soda products. Flammia said she plans on having foam parties, glow stick parties, and a back to school party in August with giveaways and reduced admission for those who donate school supplies.
Flammia said Club Tantra will have a $10 cover charge and a $15 charge for the VIP section.
"It's only ten dollars for four hours of safe fun," Flammia said.
Before deciding to open Tantra, Flammia worked as an accountant and was the owner of Gulf Coast Cheer in Bradenton, a cheerleading club that has closed. Flammia is opening Club Tantra with the advice of her children and her niece.
"I am not basing this business on anything except having a good time and enjoying it," Flammia said. "It will have an upscale theme, but I don't want to say that it will be like Miami. It's their club, so they will have input to do anything that makes them feel special."
Flammia said while the club is intended for visitors ages 14 to 19, parents are invited in to get a tour so that they can feel secure about where they are sending their children.
The club will also feature a full security staff with background checks and undercover officers, Flammia said. There will also be security in the parking lot, Flammia said. Club Tantra will not allow teenage guests to loiter in the parking lot, and once a guest leaves the club, they will not be allowed to re-enter. Flammia added that the raised DJ platform high above the dance floor is not just designed that way for looks, but so the DJs can keep an eye on the crowd.
The club will also have a dress code that prohibits hats and baggy pants. And while the VIP section features tables, Flammia said there will be no seats at the soda bar.
"Kids don't need to sit at a bar,"
Flammia said. "Safety was my number one concern before I even leased the space, and I know every parent feels the same way. We are not there to police, but we will insure safety."
Flammia has been working with her children and her niece to come up with a theme for Club Tantra's opening night. Flammia said that she is expecting to push 100 visitors for the grand opening party Aug. 2.
"We want it to be the last hoorah of summer," said Flammia's niece Rebecca Merillo.
In the future, Flammia wants to host themes parties regularly at Tantra along with open mic nights and talent shows for the teenagers. She also wants to make the space available for rentals for sweet sixteen birthday parties and fundraisers.
Flammia said she also wants to add activities for children ages 7 through 12 in the afternoons with games, music and toned-down family activities such as father-daughter dances.
Flammia's dream is to eventually open two more teen clubs like Tantra.
"This is about staying out of trouble while meeting new people and making memories in your teen years," Flammia said.
For more information about Club Tantra, call 941-251-4997.
Erica Earl, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081.