Robiconti ready to rock Tampa again

- If you remember when the Bucs wore orange and the Q-Zoo was the biggest thing on the radio, you may remember Robiconti's.  It was Tampa's version of Studio 54, with a dress code, VIP cards, and a line to get in.

Now, Jim Robiconti is ready to party again.

"This is the nightclub," he said Monday.  "This will be my new home."

And if anyone is at home in a nightclub, it's Robiconti.  Forty years ago, he turned a Holiday Inn lounge into a nightlife legend.  Through decades of disco music, big hair, and every contest, Robiconti was the ringmaster of Tampa nightlife.

"It was really about attitude of the employees, the entertainment, and a comradery between the employees and the customers," he recalled.  "And I believe that's what's going to carry over to this location."

The new location is huge. It's right across from International Plaza on Boy Scout Boulevard. It will have a New York facade with the Brooklyn Bridge and New York skyline along its roof.

NYKL, or New York Kitchen and Lounge, is slated top open in spring.  It will include a Lucky Dill Restaurant and Deli, a speakeasy, and a nightclub --  for which the owners turned to Robiconti.

"Bands, DJs, shows -- everything to make this place belong to Tampa like we used to do years ago," Robiconti continued.

Robiconti left Tampa in the early 1990's to design nightclubs in the U.S. and around the world.  But he says he couldn't turn down this new project in Tampa.

"I'm helping with the equipment now and I'll be helping with the promotions, training of the employees, and attitude, attitude, attitude," he smiled.

That's what made his clubs work back then, and the 71-year-old says it will work again. 

"Maybe one band or DJ may be for millennials; the next week music for us," he laughed. "For me, it's going to be Glenn Miller!"

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