Some major changes have taken place at an Altoona exotic night club.
Thee Mirage has a new name and a different way of doing business.
Thee Mirage Bottle Club Cabaret, 130 Sixth Ave., recently became the city's first bottle club, owner Gary McLoota said.
McLoota made the change after the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board refused to renew the club's liquor license for 2011 and 2012.
The request was challenged by the PLCB and the Altoona Police Department because of the club's many liquor code violations and the number of crimes and brawls that occurred both in the club and its parking lot.
Things have changed since the club became a bottle club in March.
"We are trying to clean up the reputation. I believe we have gotten a bad reputation for no reason," said McLoota's daughter Michelle, who helps with the club's advertising and was in charge of the recent interior remodeling.
"People don't realize we have remodeled. All they hear are the bad things. They don't happen inside the bar, they happen in the neighborhood."
"Things have happened in the neighborhood that I had nothing to do with but got blamed for," Gary McLoota said.
Patrons are charged $15 at the door to get in and can enjoy all of the draft beer they want at no extra charge. They can bring in their liquor, wine and even their own beer if they wish.
"We can store your alcohol to make drinks. We put your name on it, and you can leave it here. It will be put in a storage room," Michelle McLoota said.
Another new addition is food.
"We did not serve food before. We are now offering 10 different flavors of wings including the original George's Cafe [previously owned by Gary McLoota] wings," Michelle McLoota said. "We also have mozzarella sticks, fried pickles. jalapeno poppers and French fries, chips and salsa."
The bottle club is drawing a different group of customers including a lot of college students, Michelle McLoota said.
"Since we've changed to a bottle club we haven't seen a lot of the old customers. We haven't had any fights; nothing crazy has happened," Michelle McLoota said.
The club is also available to be rented for private parties and the McLootas plan to participate in the summers Wing-offs at Lakemont Park.
"We may consider selling our sauces. We are getting lot of good feed back on the sauces," Michelle McLoota said.
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.