Treat Yourself to Vegas-Level Luxury at EXO Lounge & Nail Bar in Edwardsville
[Editor’s note: Please continue to check the website and social media feeds for EXO for updates on its patio expansion, special events and official re-opening date.]
Whether you sink into a plush pedicure throne alongside your girlfriends to indulge in a day of pampering or sidle up to that special someone in a secluded, velvet booth for a round of designer cocktails, the moment you take a seat in EXO Lounge & Nail Bar, you’re transported somewhere unexpected.
Since opening in Edwardsville in December, entrepreneur Gina Gamblin’s inspired blend of cocktail lounge and nail bar has given those in the St. Louis region access to an experience that, until recently, required a flight to Sin City or New York. Thanks to EXO’s alluring surroundings and attentive staff, even a 30-minute weekly manicure feels like a vacation-level extravagance.
“We spent months establishing a baseline for the level of service in the surrounding areas, and then we pushed ourselves to create a next-level experience for our guests,” says Tolia Jarke, head of customer relations at EXO Nail Bar. “One would typically go to a nail bar, receive their service and then be rushed out the door. We believe in patience and doing a world-class job. People aren’t a number to us—they’re our most valuable asset, and their time and confidence in EXO should be rewarded.”
Designed for all the senses
While the services EXO offers work in unison to complement one another, the concept is divided into two separate spaces. The posh EXO Lounge—with its crocodile-embossed black walls, Italian floor tiles and crystal chandeliers—surrounds guests in glamour as they party the night away with the girls or hit happy hour with coworkers.
This shot of suburban nightlife is served up with a full drink menu curated by Katiana Tactikos, formerly of Taste. Each beverage is created with organic and natural ingredients, including the fresh and light Never a Dill Moment, the antioxidant-rich Matcha-Do About Nothing and the oaky and fragrant Smoked Manhattan. But it’s the Bubbling Berries with its citrus vodka, marinated berries and champagne that truly turns heads.
EXO Lounge also features an extensive wine and beer menu, kombucha, teas and coffee from local roaster Goshen Coffee Company. The bar hosts live music every Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. And while the establishment was closed in the spring due to COVID-19, it completed work on an expansive outdoor patio where guests can enjoy their drinks.
Every cocktail the EXO bartenders craft can also be ordered from EXO Nail Bar across the hall via the iPads at each pedicure and manicure station. The spa, owned by Ricky Thai, offers an array of nail services as well as beauty treatments including waxing, eyelash extensions and microblading.
EXO specializes in signature pedicures that offer a myriad of sensations for guests. The Fire and Ice pedicure, for example, alleviates aches and massages tired muscles with CBD-infused products designed exclusively for EXO. For those seeking unmatched pampering, the anti-aging 24K Gold treatment uses a gold leaf foot mask to stimulate collagen production which, according to Jarke, “gives guests a new set of legs by the time their pedicure is over.”
EXO’s treatments quickly became so sought-after that more than half of the nail bar’s clientele travel an hour or more to treat themselves. The spa also offers a VIP room that guests can book for special occasions.
Attainable luxury for every client
While EXO can appear intimidating to those who pull up at its doors, Gamblin ensures guests that her vision for the lounge and nail bar is the opposite. “When creating this concept, we looked to New York and Las Vegas for inspiration,” she explains. “You can walk into any Vegas casino in tennis shoes or a cocktail dress and feel completely comfortable. We wanted to replicate that feeling here. We take a lot of pride in not wanting anyone to feel overdressed or underdressed.”
For less than $25, guests can grab a signature cocktail during happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. every Monday through Friday while enjoying a classic manicure. Those who wish to spoil themselves with more luxurious signature spa treatments will be pleasantly surprised that despite its elegance, EXO offers an affordable experience.
There’s also a products page on the website where customers can order special touches like lotions, body mists and candles.
“We chose to start in Edwardsville because everyone deserves everyday luxury, not just when we travel to places like Las Vegas or New York,” Gamblin says. “Different age groups, different financial classes—we’re all aspiring to attainable beauty and pampering. Through our service offering and continuous efforts to make the ordinary extraordinary, we unite the senses to create a well-rounded experience for everyone.”
2157 Center, Edwardsville
Images courtesy of EXO Lounge & Nail Bar.