Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Review: Dyagilev (Дягилев)

Opening Hours: Fri/Sat 12am - ~6am (Sometimes Thu)
Category: Megaclub, Ultra-Exclusive
Feis Kontrol Rating: Tough- 4/5
Address: Karetniy Ryad 3, Sad Hermitage. M: Pushkinskaya/Chekovskaya
Phone: +7 (495)/790-7400
Website: N/A


Dyagilev, the replacement for Leto/Osen/Zima, is nestled in the Hermitage Gardens and is one of the best-known nightclubs on the Moscow club scene. Opened in early 2006, it ruled Moscow's Megaclub scene for over a year and is still going strong. Although challenged by newer upstart Rai and a revitalized Opera, legendary Feis Kontroler Pasha and those incredible Dyagilev promo girls keep the crowds coming.

To get to Dyagilev, enter the main gates of the Hermitage Gardens nestled between the Bulvar and Sadovaya, and veer left, bypassing the garish facade of Parizhskaya Zhizn (Paris Life) to arrive at what looks like the entrance to a shed, watched over by hulking security people and a diminutive character in a hat- the legendary Pasha Face Control.

Pasha has been a legend on the Moscow club scene for years, he has been Feis Kontrol at most "it" nightclubs in Moscow at some point, and to some degree his presence at the club designated what club was "the" Moscow Club. He has graced all of Goroby/Lazarevich's venues (Shambala/Leto/Osen/Zima), as well as JetSet and others. He even has songs written about him.

Those not confident of passing Pasha's scrutiny not only have the ability (as at most clubs) to reserve tables from ~$2,000-$20,000, but they may choose to dine during the week at one of Moscow's trendy restaurants (eg Aist, Indus, Gallereya, Nedalny Vostok) and hope to score an invitation/CD, distributed by Dyagilev's promoters who tour the restaurants. These provide an additional phone number for access to the club for the holder and their guests (although as always, Feis Kontrol has the final say).

If you make it pass Pasha, you'll find yourself in a neverending corridor which ends up in a nondescript circular basement, off which the bathrooms (30RUB- wtf?) and a chill-out room radiate, and twin staircases heading up to the club proper. At this point you'll probably wonder what all the fuss is about.

Upon climbing the stairs, Dyagilev is revealed as a cavernous space (currently decorated in a summer palmtree theme), with a central dancefloor surrounded by tiered levels of tables, the obligatory VIP section, and plenty of perches for scantily-clad dancing girls. The stairs emerge underneath a central catwalk, upon which a mixture of semi-theatrical, acrobatic, or just plain burlesque shows are staged.

Dyagilev is a feast for the senses, a visually rich club with a mixture of see-and-be-seen wide open spaces and tantalizing nooks and crannies. The DJ's play a standard mix of dance, light house, top-40, Russky-pop, and anything that happens to be popular, although occasionally more edgy DJ's are imported. The crowd tends to be a little older, although substantially the same as the other Megaclubs, and they generally opt to dance more and preen less than at Rai.

The Dyagilev crowd is both one of the great positives and negatives about this nightclub. While the crowd is generally gorgeous and friendly, there tend to be way too many flatheads and hookers, not to mention a few of both sexes who are a little too far past their clubbing prime. Additionally, the club pays young models to simply dance and mingle with the crowd, which depending on your point of view, could be regarded as false advertising.

While at Dyagilev, clubbers can expect to be showered with confetti, treated to acrobats and dancing shows, propositioned by a wide range of people of both sexes, and generally have a damn good time.

Ultimately, Dyagilev is one of Moscow's best and most professional nightclubs, with an experienced team providing an excellent night out with a fun and glamorous crowd at an extraordinary venue. While it may have lost some of its edge, there is no clear contender for Dyagilev's crown as best Megaclub, and until Lazarevich opens his next venue, it's a safe bet Dyagilev will be packing in the crowds for some time to come.

photos: 44100.com; geometria.ru

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