Midnight Rodeo will reopen on Halloween weekend as Onyx Nightclub.

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Midnight Rodeo was last opened on October 1. It will reopen on Halloween weekend as Onyx Nightclub.

The Wichita Eagle

When Midnight Rodeo opened in the summer of 2020 at the longtime nightclub at 10001 E. Kellogg, the owners decided to keep it as a country and western bar that catered to patrons 18 and over.

It worked – for a while. Last fall, when COVID-19 restrictions were tighter, the club was one of the few open in Wichita. and it has become a nightlife destination.

Since then, however, the crowds have thinned out. People now have other nightlife options, club general manager Austin Henry said, and the country and western approach seems to have run its course.

The 26,000-square-foot, 1,650-person club, which previously housed Club Rodeo, has been closed since October 1 and when the owners reopen it on October 29 it will have a new name and a new approach, Henry mentioned.

The new name will be Onyx Nightclub, and while the club will still feature country music, the playlist will be significantly expanded to include hip-hop, old school flashbacks, top 40 nightlife hits and the electronic dance music.

The country music the bar plays, said Henry, will be less Reba McEntire and more Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Blake Shelton and Brantley Gilbert.

“This concept is going to make us the newest and hottest party destination in Wichita for over 18s,” said Henry. “We want to fill our place with as much diversity as possible. Essentially, that will be what Graham Central Station used to be.

Graham Central Station was a club that occupied the space from 2001 to 2006 and had several themed clubs within it.

The owners of the Midnight Rodeo, who also own the Fever nightclub in Old Town, decided when they bought the club last year to stick with its approach, and in retrospect, the name they gave it might have been too similar to its predecessor Club. Rodeo, said Henry.

Over the summer, the previous owners opened a new Club Rodeo at K-15 and Macarthur, and too many people don’t understand the bars are completely separate with separate owners, Henry said.

This change should clarify that, he said.

“People love novelty, and it will be completely new,” he said. “It’s a new beginning, a new concept oriented towards everything and not just towards the country.”

The owners plan to open Onyx Nightclub Thursday through Sunday, but when they return on Halloween weekend, they will only open on Friday and Saturday. Both evenings will feature costume contests with cash prizes for the sexiest costume and the best couple costume.

Thursdays will eventually be reserved for hip-hop music. Friday and Saturday evenings will be in “open format,” Henry said.

This story was originally published October 12, 2021 4:24 pm.

Denise Neil has been covering dining and entertainment since 1997. Her Dining with Denise Facebook page is the go-to place for diners for local restaurant information. She is a regular judge at local culinary competitions and speaks to groups across Wichita about food.

Jerry C. Greiner