Revamped lounge to open as a restaurant in the Sunsphere

Revamped lounge to open as a restaurant in the Sunsphere

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Icon Ultra Lounge opened in October 2012, located on the fifth floor of the Sunsphere, but for the past few weeks it's been closed, as Icon's owner is starting fresh with a revamped concept. Icon Ultra Lounge opened in October 2012, located on the fifth floor of the Sunsphere, but for the past few weeks it's been closed, as Icon's owner is starting fresh with a revamped concept.
"You can go to one and walk right next door and go to the other, walk across the street and go to another. We're not in that line of traffic. That foot traffic from the nightclub doesn't come up here," said Bo Shipley. "You can go to one and walk right next door and go to the other, walk across the street and go to another. We're not in that line of traffic. That foot traffic from the nightclub doesn't come up here," said Bo Shipley.
They have partnered with the Knoxville Farmers Market and hope to feature menu offerings from local dairy farms and restaurants, including dessert choices from Magpies Bakery. They have partnered with the Knoxville Farmers Market and hope to feature menu offerings from local dairy farms and restaurants, including dessert choices from Magpies Bakery.

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Owners of a nightclub and lounge in the Sunsphere at World's Fair Park are in the process of finishing a complete makeover to the venue.  

Icon Ultra Lounge opened in October 2012, located on the fifth floor of the Sunsphere, but for the past few weeks it's been closed, as Icon's owner is starting fresh with a revamped concept.

The lounge was flashy and glitzy with bright neon lights illuminated just about everywhere. Owners say the 21-and-over nightclub was losing out in part because it was located away from other nightclubs located mostly in the Old City.  

"You can go to one and walk right next door and go to the other, walk across the street and go to another. We're not in that line of traffic. That foot traffic from the nightclub doesn't come up here," said Bo Shipley, a partner with the Icon Restaurant & Lounge.

The owners say they no longer want Icon Restaurant & Lounge to be known as a nightclub. Dramatic changes are happening on the inside of the venue as workers are removing couches to replace them with dinner tables.  

The revamped venue will open as Icon Restaurant Lounge on Saturday night.

Bo Shipley and Dan Tremaine were brought in as partners with the original owner to transform the lounge into a true restaurant.  

"We want to have kids and to have people that maybe, necessarily, wouldn't want to come up here because they thought it was a strictly a nightclub," said Shipley.  

The two joined Icon after opening a farm-to-table concept diner in Oak Ridge called the Market House at Jackson Square.  

Shipley says the restaurant will serve home-grown dishes consisting of all types of food.

They have partnered with the Knoxville Farmers Market and hope to feature menu offerings from local dairy farms and restaurants, including dessert choices from Magpies Bakery.  

"We're going to be using a ton of local vendors," Shipley said.  

The owners say having a true restaurant and a growing downtown population could make this successful. However, challenges do remain, like a lack of parking near the Sunsphere.

The owners say a friendlier family atmosphere could help bridge the gap. The restaurant will have its grand opening next Wednesday.

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