Zu at The Woodlands

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First Posted: 3/6/2015

PLAINS TWP — The Woodlands, home of the noticeably faltering Club Evolution, has found a way to compete with free drink specials made popular by Stir Nightclub in downtown Wilkes-Barre, thanks to Gerard Durling of Coal Creative marketing group.

Durling is charged with re-branding Club Evolution’s Thursday nights and has plans introduce a new nightlife experience to Northeastern Pennsylvania — ZU (pronounced zoo).

“Downtown Wilkes-Barre does a great job at attracting people with unique specials. It’s just that they’re so good that nobody else can compete with that. Who can compete with free drinks?” Durling said.

According to the 29-year-old marketing strategist, there are a lot of people who think they know what college students want from a night-life experience, but aren’t actually asking them.

Durling, on the other hand, is asking students.

“I have two interns that go to Wilkes: Trey Fidler and Steven Wilson. I’m relying on them heavily for concepts and ideas because they’re 21 and I’m not, so I’m not going to kid myself and try to figure out what someone who just turns 21 wants,” Durling said.

ZU promises to focus more on an experience than specials, Durling said.

“It’s going to be the most interactive nightlife experience. A lot of what I want to do will include social media. Our opening night, we are going to have three models who are going to be painted by makeup artists in various animal patterns. The whole thing is going to be documented throughout social media platforms. SnapChat. Instagram. Facebook,” Durling said.

ZU will get the party started at 9 p.m. on Thursday, March 12 inside The Woodlands, and will be an 18 to party, 21 to drink atmosphere.

“If you send a SnapChat to one of our models, they will reply back to you. They’ll specifically tell you to come or offer you a free T-Shirt or something,” Durling said, who wants to focus on creating a more personalized experience and connecting with guests as much as possible.

Durling said admission is $10, or $5 with a college ID.

“I want to get away from the cover-charge aspect, because it’s tickets to a show. Everyone who comes to ZU will get a show-like experience,” Durling said.

If you think the local night-life scene needed a face-lift, this might be the place for you.

Nothing has been confirmed, but Durling said he is flirting with the idea of renting a real-life lion for a future theme.

That’s right, a real-life lion. Suddenly free-drinks sound less appealing when you think of living on the edge for the ultimate selfie.

Experience ZU every Thursday night inside The Woodlands. If you’re 21 and you go before 11 p.m., your ticket is free. BOOM!