LUX LOUNGE is kind of a misfit toy, that welcomes other misfit toys in a misfit part of the city. Revolving works of local art decorate the interior, there are tables with body parts, handmade sconces and nuances of demons and hellfire that pay homage to its proper address of 666 South Avenue. Out back there is an oversized open yard for the over 21 grown-up kids to play in, watch movies and cook their own burgers on certain nights. A hammock swings on the far end of the yard and there’s even a new porta potty for when ya just don’t feel like walking all the way inside, its proper name is still to be decided.
“It’s the sweetest devil bar you’ll ever be in,” says Karrie Laughton, founder, owner and queen of her misfit toy kingdom. Lux, the actual word, is a play on the heart of Karrie. It is a latin word for “light” and serves as an homage to her love of photography, to which she earned her degree in at RIT many moons ago. It also speaks of her love of music and all things just to the left of center. (Lux Interior from the Cramps, anyone?)
“It’s a combo, really. I’m a nerdy photo geek. Music and lighting in bars is so important. I picked the name as a combo of ambiance and of something that’s kind of alternative, grungy, rebellious… Carnie’s was actually an original name, too. But I went with Lux.”
The light definition extends beyond photography and art; Lux is basically the essence of Karrie which settles in every nook and cranny in the bar. The sounds on the jukebox, the comfort of her patrons—she wanted a safe place for people of all types and walks of life to hang out without judgement and that is what she built.
Beyond the bar, Karrie extends her personal Lux straight into the South Wedge neighborhood. As co-president of BASWA she dedicates her life to the beautification of the neighborhood. She helps to hang flowers, put in benches, paint the electrical boxes and she worked for ten years to get some goddamned solid street lights. And after raising $50,000, BASWA finally made that a reality. Please visit the South Wedge area and enjoy them.
It took a few pulls of the chain to get the light to shine so brightly for Karrie. Realizing her photography career wasn’t all that she had anticipated, she took to cocktail waitressing at Jazzberries in the early 90’s while learning the ropes of bartending and moved forward collecting her skills. “I was the token straight girl bartender at Mother’s then I worked at the Bug Jar for 10 years. I consider Bob (from the Bug Jar) my silent partner from the grave. I stole a lot of my influence from them, the same sort of feel, I wanted a place where people could hang out that was off the beaten path. An outlet for creatives.”
When she found the right place to materialize her dream, Karrie says, “it was like polishing a turd. I had a vision so I found a carpenter and sort of figured it out as I went along. I did it on the cheap, too. I borrowed all of my father’s savings which wasn’t a ton. But he had faith in me and Lux. The rest came from auctions and the curb. Some old barstools from Mothers.”
What began in 2002 as a humble 7 or 8 people, Lux now staffs 23. And the whole place has grown to include a different event every day of the week, live bands and of course their annual Halloween shenanigans. With an address like 666, you have to appease the demons. Amiright?