What started off as a slow night for Cleo's, a new bar in the Village from Silo owner Chris Ellison, turned into a capacity-pushing evening in a matter of minutes.
At around 11:30 p.m., patrons poured in. Ellison said the reaction was more than he expected.
"We're busier earlier," he said, comparing the reaction to that of the Silo.
He attributed the change to the new location.
"We're in the Village now," Ellison explained. "People can get here easier, so logically, there will be more people."
He said the most profitable time for the Silo is between 12:30 and 3 a.m. The earlier peak in patronage would translate to the downtown location.
"If more people are here, more will ride the Silo bus," he said. "It's really a win-win for us."
Tyler Miller, a bartender and senior theatre major, said he thought the night was going well.
"There are a lot of people here," he said. "It's good, because they're all dressed up nicely, and that's kind of what we're going for here."
In a previous interview, Ellison said the upscale vibe was exactly what Cleo's was meant to represent.
"We're the only upscale bar in the Village," he said. "We're looking to be a bar like you would find in Chicago."
Senior exercise science major Alex Barrett said he saw the bar as a positive change to the Village.
"If you want to go somewhere clean, come here," he said.
One unnamed patron said there was only one thing missing.
"They need fans – bad," she said.
Ellison said the bar wasn't complete yet.
"We still have a lot to do. But the reaction we have received so far is good," he said.
The Silo bus had a new stop near Cleo's, behind the First Merchants Bank in the Village. It was the bus that prompted Ellison to open a bar in the village, he said.
"We have about 300 people ride the bus every week," he said. "And more ride it in the summer."
Ellison said he saw the bus as his societal responsibility. About $1,000 are spent on the bus each month, but he said the cost is well worth it.
"I've lost a friend to a drinking and driving situation, this is just my way to help out," he said.
He said the sales at the Silo cover the cost of the bus, and only expects his profitability to increase after Cleo's is around.
Throughout the night, patrons danced to music played by a DJ, but few expected Cleo's to become a place to dance.
"Once the opening excitement wears off," Barrett said. "This will be a bar where you can come and chill."