Amnesia’s design combines features

By Gina Quilici

Amnesia, DeKalb’s newest night spot, has been in business exactly one week today, yet has enjoyed the full force of success from the very moment it opened its doors to the public.

One theory for Amnesia’s rapid rise to the top can be attributed to the idea that “DeKalb is lacking a big city concept in night clubs,” said Amnesia co-owner Chris Carpenter.

According to Carpenter, creating a winning design for Amnesia required a lot of time and hard work. He and his colleagues would go to all the major clubs in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs to pick the features they liked the best from each. They took their favorites and combined them into one to form Amnesia, only they “tried to do a little better,” Carpenter said.

Amnesia’s inner features are obviously intriguing to the eye, but the story behind them is far more interesting and much less apparent. For example, the 700 square foot marble dance floor provides the patrons with ample room to dance. However, what is not obvious is the fact that each square of marble was removed from an old hotel on Madison Avenue in Chicago. The marble sections were hand carved in 1885 and brought to Chicago shortly thereafter by steam engine. Upon arriving in the Windy City, they were transported to the hotel site by oxcart.

In addition, patrons can admire two stone carvings set in the mirrored walls of the dee-jay’s booth. It is less apparent that these two limestone carvings were the cornerstones from an old Rockford library.

The dee-jay’s booth is also supported by another feature, black/silver marble pillars. The pillars were part of a savings and loan building and were originally imported from Italy. Carpenter said the pillars were worth “at least $15,000 back in the 1930s” when they were originally imported.

According to Carpenter, obtaining all the special articles required him and his staff to “hunt and search around” for a long time.

Other more obvious features of the bar include hand painted textured walls that were specially designed by artist Cynthia Hawk from St. Charles. Overhead beams were textured to resemble marble; other walls are sponge painted to create a dramatic effect, and still yet, various walls, including those of the bathrooms, are splashed with vibrant colors in a splatter paint motif.

Carpenter said they packed so many different concepts into Amnesia to give the bar “a little bit of everything.” He said every aspect was specifically designed right down to the layout of the bar pathways, which were fashioned in a circular respect for better traffic flow.

In addition to structural advantages, Amnesia offers its patrons a wide variety of activities such as playing pool or darts in an area set away from the main flow of traffic. This enables patrons to play a game undisturbed. Carpenter also included small tables for the players to set their drinks on during their turns.

Dancing, socializing and eating are probably the bar’s most obvious activities. Carpenter said Amnesia has a “top of the line lighting system” and a “state of the art” sound system. For dancing there are two distinct dance floors. One is raised up, and the other is below. Carpenter did this purposely to keep with the theme of variety.

Dancing and drinking can work up an appetite, so with this in mind Amnesia owners created a partnership with their neighbor Marchelloni’s. This enables Amnesia customers to enjoy foods such as pizza, salads, hot sandwiches and snacks.

Like all profitable social spots, Amnesia offers custom designed sweatshirts and t-shirts that are proudly displayed in a glass case in the entryway. The entire contents of the bar are set off by the prism effect that is created from the beveled mirrors on the wall which, incidentally, are sprayed on the back with actual silver.

With most of the initial costs aside Carpenter estimates that Amnesia cost its owners somewhere in the ballpark of $1 million.