Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

No Small Plans: Enormous Club XL set to debut in Harrisburg.

The exterior of Club XL in Harrisburg.

As one might expect, at Club XL, nothing is small.

Big space, big patio, big stage, big bars, huge screens.

That’s the vision of owner Phil Dobson, who plans to open the 18,500-square-foot nightclub and music venue next month in an underused, 1940s-era warehouse near S. Cameron and Hanna streets in Harrisburg.

“Everything is big, hence the XL,” Dobson said.

The club will be the latest piece of Dobson’s redevelopment puzzle for this once-industrial and later forsaken area. Across one street, he opened Savannah’s on Hanna in 2009 and, across another street, River City Blues Club and Dart Room in 2014.

Dobson has owned the Club XL space for about eight years, buying it without a firm plan, but with the thought that he wanted to control the several-block area just off I-83, gradually transforming it into a nightlife destination.

Now those plans are firm, and they are of the extra-large variety.

Walking in, a reception area leads to an enormous dance floor with one of the largest stages in Harrisburg, the ceiling outfitted with an industrial lighting system.

“I went all out with the lighting and the sound to give a true nightclub experience,” he said, adding that he’s gone as far as installing Co2 cannons. “When you’re here, it’s all sensory appeal. This brings it to a higher level.”

A bar winds around the entire back and leads to a long room on the side, which will feature a concession area for food orders, with tables. Six giant screens grace the walls, capped off by a 200-inch behemoth. Upstairs, there’s a VIP area, and, outside, a large bar and a patio built around a 200-year-old sycamore tree.

Dobson said that he was inspired by Las Vegas clubs and wanted to bring that type of flashy nightlife to Harrisburg. He plans big dance parties on Friday nights, but it won’t all be DJs.

Dobson also is booking live music for touring bands that need a venue that can hold about 1,200 people. To that end, he’s scheduled the alt-rock lineup of Puddle of Mudd, Saving Abel and Tantric for the debut concert on April 15. Local bands Smooth Like Clyde and Honeypump will play the night before for the soft opening.

Club XL also will host sports, comedy and other events that can use a large open space, stage, lights, plenty of parking and other amenities, Dobson said.

“When people come here, I want them to be wowed,” he said. “I want to give them so many options that it’ll be an experience.”

Club XL is located at 801 S. 10th St., Harrisburg. For more information, call 717-409-8975 or visit the website.

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