Jon Reyes still enjoys the red velvet ropes, the laser lights and the pulse of the music – all of the things you’d find at a nightclub.
The only catch is that he’s doing it without drugs and alcohol and with a Christian spin.
In September Reyes opened the doors to The Upper Room – Manteca’s first Christian nightlife spot– an attempt to bring a positive, faith-based hangout for people to enjoy in an area that he felt might be underserved in that respect.
With all of wild partying days behind him, Reyes – a Stockton resident that worships at Manteca’s Prayer Valley Church with his wife Jessica – says he’s looking forward to seeing what the venture can become.
“We want this to be a really positive place for people to come where there isn’t any pressure and they can feel at home,” Reyes said. “Of course, we’re Christian and we’re going to have a Christian message, but we’re not a church and we’re not going to operate like one.
“This is about people having good, positive fun. We’re trying to reach out to those people who don’t attend church regularly to see if maybe this is something they’d be interested in.”
It was during a drive down Stockton’s Miracle Mile that Reyes’ wife came up with the idea to possibly pursue a Christian nightclub somewhere in the vicinity, and while the idea could have fallen on deaf ears or been forgotten about, it struck a chord with the successful real estate broker.
He began looking around, and out of nowhere the church upstairs from where he goes on Sunday mornings suddenly decided to merge with Prayer Valley’s congregation – leaving the space open and available.
After a meeting with the pastor’s son, the church decided to let Reyes use the space rent free to operate the night spot which is currently open two Fridays every month. That meeting got the project off the ground and he’s been running ever since.
Besides converting it into a nightclub, Reyes has also added a few Christian twists like “The Glory Room” which will always have at least two people in it to pray for whoever comes in for a little spiritual boost.
“I think that people from outside will appreciate what it is that we’re trying to do once they see what that is,” he said. “This isn’t about religion but a relationship with God. What we’re trying to do is give people the atmosphere that they’re used to but the drug that they get when they come in is God and love.”
And there is no link to any particular denomination.
Reyes said that he has reached out to places like Crossroads and Christian Worship Center – local churches with extremely large Sunday service numbers – to try and get young adults interested in the 18-and-over site. He has plans, he says, to meet with Christian-based drug and alcohol recovery programs in the near future.
Keeping the site unaffiliated, he said, opens it up to people from any other church that might want to come and check out the site.
“I know that there can be cliques when it comes to some of the denominations, and we don’t want to see that happen,” he said. “This is something that everybody should be able to enjoy. That’s what this is all about.
The Upper Room is located at 119 Sycamore Avenue, and is open two Fridays a month from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. On Friday, Oct. 28, they’ll be holding a “Halo-ween” event where the top costume will take home $100 in cash. For additional information, visit www.theupperroomnightlife.com.