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51 Main to replace The Accord under new management

Outside The Accord in downtown Champaign. The Accord will be renamed 51 Main on June 16.

Outside The Accord in downtown Champaign. The Accord will be renamed 51 Main on June 16.

The Daily Illini File Photo

The Daily Illini File Photo

Outside The Accord in downtown Champaign. The Accord will be renamed 51 Main on June 16.

Julie Screiner, Contributing writer

The Accord is currently located at 51 E. Main St., but for the second time in a year, that is about to change.

Beginning in May, The Accord is shifting its scene to a VIP dance bar named 51 Main. The Accord has been a spot for live entertainment, off-campus Greek life exchanges and Champaign’s bar scene. The bar was first named High Dive, but changed to The Accord in January 2016.

Rod Sickler, owner of Memphis on Main and Rod Sickler’s Salon and Spa, is taking over the venue and turning it into an upscale bar with VIP memberships, limo service, valet parking, gambling and live band and theater performances.

“If you’re a member, we will have a large set of amenities for you like potentially valet parking, front of the line entry, a limo service and four really nice VIP areas. Our big focus is to be able to have fraternity (and) sorority exchanges there. We want that to be the No. 1 destination for that sort of thing,” Sickler said.

Sickler spent the last 38 years as a hairdresser and owns a hair product company called ID Hair.

“So for me, it seemed like a natural evolution owning my own establishments. I think it partners well with the salon and spa,” Sickler said.

51 Main and Memphis on Main are neighbors, so Sickler is using this opportunity to connect the two venues. Sickler said he hopes people will think of 51 Main less as a night club and more as a venue for good live entertainment.

“There will be local and regional live music, and a few times a year we’ll bring in some national acts. We are redesigning it so we can actually hold live theater there,” Sickler said.

Angelica Niemann, sophomore in LAS, is a bartender at Memphis on Main and met Sickler through his hair salon.

Niemann compared the new venue to two other community bars — Soma and Canopy Club.

“It’s going to be very upscale, very vintage,” Niemann said. “I think what’s going to make us really unique is our service. How cool is it going to be to possibly be escorted by a limo to Red Lion?”

The Accord was leased for 15 months in January 2016 to Seth Fein. Fein decided to give up managing the bar to spend time with his family.

“It was pretty successful, especially in the first year scenario. In the end, my wife and I just had a second baby boy, so we had to discuss what we wanted to spend our time doing,” Fein said.

Fein said he is much more interested in paying attention to his children than he is running a night club. Even though Fein is handing over the reins, he is confident the venue will still encompass its main purpose.

“(Sickler) is really focused on live music, theater and comedy so it’s not like the venue is going away and being turned into something it wasn’t designed to be,” Fein said. “It’s going to still be a venue. It will be different from The Accord, but everyone has their own taste.”

The Accord is holding its last events, “Fare Thee Well to The Accord” on April 26 and 28. Entrance  is free on April 26 and $5 on April 28. Five bands are performing on each day. ZXO, CJ Run, Crofton Coleman & The Amber Sky, The Bashful Youngens and Snayl perform for the first show and The Dirty Feathers, We The Animals, Tigerbeat, The Handcuffs and Three Hour Tour perform for the last.

The grand opening of 51 Main is scheduled for June 16 and 17. The opening is set to kick off with the seventh annual Rod Sickler’s Red Hot Summer Fest.

“It’s easy to say that the weekend parties start and stop on Main Street in Champaign,” Sickler said.

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