New bar Roxxy opens in downtown Iowa City

The bar, located across from Brothers, carries 80s, 90s, and early 2000s themes.


Larry Phan

The new club Roxxy is shown in Iowa City on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021.

Ariana Lessard, Arts Reporter

Iowa City boasts impressive nightlife and a loyal fanbase of Hawkeyes bent on capitalizing on it, which puts bars in high demand. A new bar, named Roxxy, has opened on 127 E. College St. to answer the call.

The bar, decorated with walls of cassette tapes, seeks to celebrate the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s.

One of the many things that makes Roxxy stand out is its music, Roxxy bartender Julia Necker said.

“The music is way different than any other bar in Iowa City, like you go around to bars and hear the same songs, but this is a bit of a throwback,” Necker said.

Roxxy manager Tetyana Kedyk said the bar provides a bit of variety to the options already available to Iowa City residents. There, the music ranges from disco to pop to classic rock.

Kedyk said, the theme was inspired by a bar the owner went to in California.

“The atmosphere of the bar he was in inspired this vision to bring the 80s and early 2000s back to life but in one place, and to fill it up with interesting decor that is not the most ordinary stuff,” Kedyk said. “His goal is to provide a place where everyone can come and everyone is welcomed and everyone is different.”

Different is a perfect way to describe this bar, which overflows with unique pieces of art designed to remind one of the cultural cornerstones of each respective decade. From the guitars and even a full drum set hanging from the ceiling to the ceramic molds of the twins from The Shining, the decoration of this bar is impossible to ignore and perhaps its most enticing attribute.

“We want to stick to the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s, so we kind of just rotate things that happened during those time periods, and focus on different kinds of art,” Kedyk said. “We have art collected for over two years so sometimes we’ll do themed weeks with those.”

Roxxy has a DJ in house every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, so Kedyk said the bar is a perfect place to host private events.

As far as events that are open to the public, Kedyk explained that Roxxy will begin scheduling more themed events as soon as the public starts giving feedback as to what they’d like to see from the bar.

University of Iowa student Paige Levich said she enjoyed the atmosphere and her time at Roxxy.

“I thought that Roxxy was so fun and the ambiance was great,” Levich said. “I feel like karaoke could be fun, they also could have a spot for casual live music.”

Roxxy also has locations in Des Moines and Cedar Falls, as well as several sister companies, including The Stuffed Olive and Double Tap. CEO Darren Beck, who, according to Kedyk, opened his first night club when he was only 19, has been in the business for over 20 years now.

Through Roxxy, Beck is bringing together his love for nightlife and his love for the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s to create an ideal venue for anyone who has a love for retro music and an appreciation for design.