Friday, April 14, 2006

Ronnie Davis Hates Competition

As most folks around these parts know, the High Falls Entertainment Resort is now fully open. The cavernous former Jillian's on Commercial Street is now home to five venues (Cheyenne Supper Club, Palm Bar, CocoLoco's, KingPinz, and Saddle Ridge) all under one roof. Count me among those that are very excited to have the new entertainment options in town. Maybe, at least for a few months, the East End will have some competition for our drinking dollars.

Not everyone is terribly happy about the competition though. Ronnie Davis, the man behind Daisy Duke's, Soho East, Alexander Street Pub, Coyote Joes, and BarFly, among others, got his name in the paper today for complaining about how the new folks in High Falls were promoting themselves. We all know it's really not the promotions that upset Davis, it's the new competition. This guy all but controls Rochester's nightlife, flooding our market with fratboy-oriented, Top 40 blaring, beer bars that make the average 23-year-old say, "I gotta get the hell out of this town."

For years Davis has complained about the public money that goes into High Falls to make it an entertainment destination. He had a valid point. Why subsidize a new entertainment zone when the East End and to a lesser extent the St Paul Quarter and Monroe Ave were already fulfilling our partying needs? The difference is that High Falls is probably the most unique setting in Rochester, let alone in any major city in the country. How many other cities can claim a revitalized mill district alongside a 96-foot high waterfall in the middle of its downtown? None. But because of its location, it needed a boost. With the planned conversion of the Parry Machine Building to residential use and a rumored new condo development at the corner of State and Platt, High Falls finally appears to have a bright future.

I'm not saying that the High Falls Entertainment Resort is the panacea for what ails Rochester's unadventurous nightlife. For instance, I don't see myself spending too much time getting drunk and going bowling - isn't that what most of us did in high school? But I'm officially in my late-twenties and the thought of watching meatheads fight and sorority girls vomit while listening to 50-Cent and drinking a Labatt Blue bottle just doesn't appeal to me any more. At least not every night. So welcome to Rochester, new guys. Here's hoping you succeed where Jillians failed.