MEDFORD — Oxygen, a new restaurant and nightclub featuring a sports bar, a 600-square-foot dance floor and 2 a.m. breakfasts, is weeks away from opening in downtown Medford.
Oxygen will have its grand opening Feb. 15-16 in the renovated 9,000-square-foot second story of the Hubbard's Hardware building at Main Street and Riverside Avenue. The event comes just months after the Medford Market threw in the towel on opening at the site. Paul Hewitt, primary owner, said it will be more than just a nightclub.
The Medford Market, the city's first food co-op, was once planning to open its doors in the Hubbard's Hardware building. It was leasing the space for a year, but was released from its agreement last fall after the loan the organization had been banking on fell through. Three of five board members resigned, and five new members were appointed on a temporary basis.
John Statler, Medford councilman and Medford Market board member, said there is a planning meeting scheduled for the end of this month to identify some core people to revisit the business plan.
"Hopefully by April we'll have some recommendations to make to the owners," said Statler, referring to those residents who invested in co-op memberships to get the effort off the ground.
"Our goal is to be open 7 days a week," he said, adding that it will have daytime hours, too.
The business also will feature a focus on national stock-car racing.
"One of the things I see lacking in the valley is NASCAR," he said.
The restaurant element, which includes fresh baked goods, will offer American cuisine, and the atmosphere will be along the lines of Porters and Red Rock restaurants, he said.
One element Oxygen won't include is an "oxygen bar," a trendy set-up that supplies several minutes of "flavored" oxygen to paying customers via a nose tube. Hewitt said he's heard from several people who assumed it was an oxygen bar, a late 1990s fad that has come and gone in Japan, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Renovation includes knocking out walls and demolishing both old bars and building new ones, as well as fixing up the main entrance off Main Street.
"It's more open," said Hewitt. He's still lining up disc jockeys for the music, which will include Top 40 and other styles, he said. Oxygen will not have live bands.
He doesn't anticipate the noise complaints lodged against Highwaters, the previous nightclub occupying the site.
"It's a completely different sound system," said Hewitt.
Bob Seus, who owns the building with his siblings, said he has a good feeling about the new business.
"I like these guys," he said. "I think it's going to be a much cleaner, neater establishment."
Seus agreed the business probably will not generate noise complaints.
"It's not going to be a place where you have 200 bodies crammed together on a dance floor," said Seus. "I don't think it will be a problem."
He said there are no tenants lined up yet for the main floor and basement of the Hubbard's building.
Reach reporter Meg Landers at 776-4481 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.