Enigma (1110 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg) opened its doors to much fanfare last year, and its success has helped it become one of the hottest nightclubs in St. Petersburg’s EDGE District. With fun activities each night of the week, an expansive dance floor, and three bars (including one opening up directly onto the sidewalk overlooking Central Avenue), Enigma has set a high standard for gay nightclubs in the Tampa Bay area.
The management and staff of Enigma want to thank their patrons for a successful year in business by welcoming them to the nightclub’s first anniversary party, which will be held on Friday, May 8 starting at 8 p.m. On that night, there will be two special drag shows, hosted by Enigma’s show director Daphne Ferraro and featuring many of her talented friends. Those shows will begin at 10 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. In addition, there will be lots of fun giveaways and even a few surprise performers! Come on out to Enigma to find out what surprises there are in store.
I talked to owner Ed Gonzalez about Enigma and what his thoughts are about his nightclub’s smash success.
Congratulations on a year in business! How do you feel having received such a warm response from the community?
Thank you! St. Pete is very special in the sense that the residents here take sincere pride in this community and provide a feeling of family you cannot find in most cities. I feel very grateful for our clientele’s support and loyalty.
When you opened up Enigma, did you expect it to gain the following that it has? Have your expectations been exceeded?
I’d have to say I was able to open Enigma with a decent amount of confidence because we started with advantages most businesses do not get. It’s no secret most of my staff and I previously worked together for years so I didn’t have to hire strangers. We had the fortune of opening with a well seasoned staff that I knew I could trust who already had an established clientele.
What many don’t know is that it was my employees that talked me into opening the bar so we could all be together again. When the idea was first brought up to me, I didn’t even take it seriously or believe it would be possible. As for my expectations, we are not a finished product yet. We’re still adding and testing new (and hopefully fun) things so it’s still too early to tell. I’m just happy to be back in St. Pete around the people I missed when I left.
As a nightclub owner, what is the most important rule of business to you?
It’s hard to respond to that with only one answer. I’ll just narrow it down to providing consistently competent and friendly service, creating a welcoming environment where everyone feels at home, and having a positive impact on the community.
You recently started a Friday night drag show hosted by Daphne Ferraro. What’s your favorite part of Daphne’s shows?
That’s easy: Daphne herself! I’ve had the fortune to land lots of great entertainment in the past so I want to make sure to give them their due respect. However, you can’t always expect to strike gold and with Daphne I know I lucked out, thanks to a great friend. She is such a professional and so easy to work with. From her cast selection to her show themes, she puts all she has into every show, [and she] always makes each night fresh and fun.
Tell us a little about Mystery Saturdays. Keep the illusion of mystery of course, but our readers want to know more!
Well, the goal is to surprise everyone with exciting entertainment that they would not have expected and make them scared to potentially miss something great every Saturday! Booking acts I’ve never dealt with before is a bit stressful because even I can’t be sure how it’s going to go. So far there have been more hits than misses but we keep making new contacts and we’re learning what our customers like.
What’s ahead for Enigma in the next twelve months? Are you introducing any new events or theme nights?
Over the next twelve months we have some interior improvements planned to create more comfortable, intimate hangout areas and plan additions to our decor. We recently introduced a Thursday night contest that’s gone over extremely well with our customers and even my most critical employee. We currently have themes for five nights of the week and are still brainstorming ideas for the other two.
What or whom have you not hosted at Enigma yet, but would like to?
I’d love to host Madonna! Back to reality now: I give…you finally stumped me.