Palace Theatre/Cahrlotte, NC


Charlotte Observer (North Carolina)

Sunday October 31, 2010

Havana Social Club moves to Palace, changes its name

Havana has moved. Not the one in Cuba; the one in Cornelius.

Havana Social Club has moved from its original location near Bruster’s Ice Cream to the Palace, the old movie theater in Kenton Place. It’s now called Havana Banquet and Ballroom.

I hadn’t been inside the building since it was a movie theater years ago, when the lobby had an Egyptian theme, with gold and hieroglyphics painted on pillars and walls.

I was surprised how the place had changed. The Egyptian theme was gone; so were the concession counter and the half-walls in the front.

The place is now an open, elegant party space and ballroom with a dance floor. The old ticket booth is being turned into a boutique to sell dance clothing, shoes and accessories.

Havana moved because the lease was ending at the old location. The staff had looked at the Palace as a possibility, especially since moving there would create activity for the area. Lowes Foods is way down at the end, so an anchor was needed at the opposite end.

The Palace has been a kind of landmark for Cornelius, and people wanted something there so the space was not so empty. The timing was right; Havana’s lease was up just when the Palace was available.

The people at Havana also wanted to provide a local place for larger functions. Most of the fancier public places top out at capacities of 200 to 250, so Cornelius loses revenue.

This area needed a nice place for a social function. The space is set up to host dances, parties, banquets shows and productions.

Now that Havana has taken over the big space, the hope is that the Palace will become a kind of mini-mall. The other spaces are occupied by a church, a creative theater, an art instruction/gallery space and the Haunted Palace, which ends today. Movie theater spaces are still available.

If you’re looking for a place to celebrate a holiday party, check with Havana soon. Since the facility now can host events with 50 to 400 people, it is booking up fast.

Besides its new services, Havana still offers its old ones. It has children’s dance classes for ages 4 and older and has added tap, jazz and ballet classes. For adults, it has group classes and private ballroom dancing instruction.

Public events coming up are the Lake Norman Chamber’s After Hours on Nov. 18 and Havana’s grand opening at 8 p.m. Nov. 19, with dancing, entertainment, a show and a full bar.

For details visit havanasocialclub . Call 704-892-7000 for information about dance or social events; call 704-526-9651 to reserve space for a private party.

Freelance writer Lisa Daidone loves living in Cornelius. E-mail her at ldaidone .

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