Widgets Magazine
  • After 3 decades, Russell's Lounge closes its doors

    As plans are readied for the complete renovation of the former Marriott hotel at 3233 NW Expressway, one of Oklahoma City's longest running bars and clubs has quietly closed its doors.

    Last month, the Champion Hotel group purchased the 354-room property from the lender. After opening in the mid-80's as a Marriott, the property lost its flag and had been operating as the Tower Hotel since 2013.

    Champion will make a full conversion to the Embassy Suites brand, reducing the room count to 215 and thoroughly reworking all the common areas and meeting spaces.

    Hotel management told OKCTalk that since Embassy Suites incorporates a bar into its lobby, the Russell's space will be re-purposed.

    The venerable bar and night spot closed its doors for good last Saturday.

    Starting with its opening of the hotel in the fall of 1985, Russell's was an OKC sensation with weekend crowds filling the large space and packing the dance floor, particularly on weekends where DJ's and live bands were routinely featured.

    A recent photo shows that the club, like the hotel around it, had changed little in more than 32 years.

    Entering Russell's from its signature separate side entrance last week, visitors discovered hours limited to weekend nights, cash-only terms and a vastly reduced liquor selection.

    Champion Hotels is owned by Champ Patel and operates dozens of hotels in Oklahoma as well as surrounding states. The company recently opened the first TRU hotel in the U.S. On S. Meridian Avenue. TRU is a new brand by Hilton Hotels.

    Champion is also ready to start on a large Canopy Hotel in Bricktown and is a partner in the recently purchased former lumberyard property directly north of the now-demolished Producer's Coop.

    Renovation to Embassy Suites will be starting soon and the company also plans to build a smaller, limited-service hotel on some of the parking to the north.

    The large 13,000 square meeting space will also receive a complete makeover.

    Although hotel construction has boomed in Central Oklahoma over the last decade, this hotel is one of the few that feature significant meeting space and considered full-service.

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