NEW YORK — Usually on Fridays the Jay Z owned 40/40 Club in Manhattan’s Flatiron district doesn’t open until after nightfall, but for Central Pennsylvania Republicans there was an exception.

Roc-A-Fella met Centre County, as Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman held a reception there this afternoon. There was an open bar, gender neutral bathrooms (those may not have gone over well with some of the guests) and lots of music.

Country music.

Jay Z raps about the 40/40 Club in his 2003 song “Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” saying “You can catch me at the 40/40 Club, ESPN on the screen.” Corman and other influential GOP pols are probably not the clientele Jay Z was shooting for, but the Senator’s party was a sight to behold, starting outside the door, where black velvet ropes lined the sidewalk. Two male bouncers and one female bouncer guarded the club. You had to explain you were there for the Corman event.   

40 40 club
Credit: Mark Dent/Billy Penn

Several parts of the club were decorated in the Senate Majority Leader’s honor. His name flashed on TV screens next to a wall behind the bar comprised of golden champagne bottles, and was emblazoned on stools on the platforms where clubgoers usually get bottle service.

Corman club

Guests included Comcast executive VP David L. Cohen, Penn State president Eric Barron and Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack. They were served bruschetta, sliders and tacos, and DJ Big Brooklyn spun a soundtrack of mostly country music and 50s hits — think Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba” and Sam Hunt’s “Take Your Time.”

I asked a waitress if she’d seen many parties similar to Corman’s, and she said the 40/40 Club held several private parties around the holidays. As for this, with the country music and 50s tunes and, I explained to her, a room set up for Central Pennsylvanians?

That, she said, was new.

Mark Dent is a reporter/curator at BillyPenn. He previously worked for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where he covered the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Penn State football and the Penn State administration. His...