Hotel Offers One Night of Disco Heaven

The original Heaven nightclub featured a 1000 foot dance floor. Photo; Rick Stern

The original Heaven nightclub featured a 1000 foot dance floor. Photo courtesy of Rick Stern

The clocks are turning back 31 years at a Pittsburgh hotel offering a one-night-only chance to experience disco heaven.

From 1979 to 1984, the Heaven nightclub operated in the two-story lobby of the historic Fulton Building, now the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel, and was the city’s answer to New York’s Studio 54.

And on Thursday, June 11, it’s back: The nightclub will be recreated in the hotel lobby in all its disco glory.

Heaven returns for one night only on June 11.

Heaven returns for one night only on June 11.

Heaven’s return is part of the hotel chain’s international Day of Discovery, an event where each hotel chooses its own theme and event to celebrate discovery, Pittsburgh Renaissance General Manager Paul Newmaster says.

“Every Renaissance in the world will be doing a similar type of activity on June 11 in a concerted effort to let everybody know that we’re the brand of discovery.”

Last year the hotel chose an astronomy theme and a star-gazing event. This year it’s looking heavenward again—but this time for a day of DISCOvery.

An original mirror ball from Heaven will be featured in the recreated nightclub. Photo; Rick Stern.

An original mirror ball from Heaven will be featured in the recreated nightclub. Photo courtesy of Rick Stern.

To recreate Heaven, organizers turned to photographs of the original venue from former owner Rick Stern.The dance floor will be located back in its original position, right in the hotel’s lobby. “We’re clearing out all the furniture, and it’ll be one big dance floor,” Newmaster says.

Ronda Zegarelli from Acrobatique says the club will feature the original mirror ball from Heaven, as well as a fog machine and confetti guns to recreate some of the original atmosphere. Live aerialists from Iron City Aerial will also be performing as human disco balls.

The soundtrack for the night, provided by MetroMix DJ John Hohman will include 70s disco hits from Donna Summer and others as well as early 80s music from Duran Duran, Tina Turner and Blondie. “It will be a little eclectic, but suited to that era in time,” Zegarelli explains.

Interest in the event has been so high a second VIP area has been opened, after the first offering of VIP tickets sold out, she says. “It’s a Thursday night so we weren’t really sure if people were going to respond at this level. It’s a nice problem to have.”

The hotel is also offering a $99 room rate for those who wish to “take the elevator home” and stay the night after the party.

Heaven, Thursday, June 11
Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel, 7 p.m. – 11:30 p.m., 107 Sixth St., Downtown.
General admission $20, VIP admission $45 (includes two drinks, hors d’oeuvres, access to VIP lounge).
Tickets can be purchased from Eventbrite. A portion of ticket sales benefit the Community Liver Alliance.

Heather McCracken is a Pittsburgh freelance writer and editor.