In Ybor City, nightlife establishments pass an endurance test for survival. Clubs like The Impulse, Tracks and DNA have bitten the dust. But the Empire has reigned supreme for a decade.
On April 22, the Empire will mark its anniversary with a show headlined by Flavor Flav of rap powerhouse Public Enemy and novelty celebrity fame. The party will be free all night for 21 and older and $5 for ages 18 to 20.
Before his bout with reality TV fame, rap fans knew Flavor Flav as the jokester sidekick to Chuck D. He wore a giant clock around a chain and occasionally performed lead vocal, most notably on Public Enemy's megahit 911 Is a Joke.
In the past couple of years, Flav has blazed a quirky comeback trail on the syndicated TV show The Surreal World and VH1's Strange Love, revealing to millions his "ghetto flash/Euro trash" relationship with actor Brigitte Nielsen.
Flav's twisted rhymes and antics will add a goofy charm to the anniversary festivities of the Empire, which opened in 1995 in the Masquerade's old space. Evolving from a modest one-floor Goth and new wave club to a two-floor booty-shakin' palace, the club now features multicolor light displays, VIP rooms and a massive state-of-the-art system.
Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, lines of young partiers decked out in designer wear wrap around the block to shake it to techno and hip-hop tunes by DJs Eyeball and Royce.
The club has maintained a fierce popularity with young partiers because it allows entrance to 18- to 20-year-olds with a strictly enforced wristband rule for drinking.
1902 E Seventh Ave.
Ybor City, Tampa
(813) 247-2582[Last modified April 13, 2005, 15:16:03]