Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Review: Club Barfly (Клуб БарФлай)

Opening Hours: Noon-all night
Category: Lounge, Restaurant, Pre-Party?
Feis Kontrol Rating: Easy- 2/5
Address: Noviy Arbat 24, (below Oktabyr cinema)
M: Arbatskaya
Phone: +7 (495) 203-0547, 220-3839
Website: http://www.novikovgroup.ru/

Last weekend Club Barfly opened in the space that used to house Black October, underneath the Oktabyr cinema on Noviy Arbat. This joint venture between Novikov and "Quatro Amigos" (of Opera & Shambala fame) seems to be intent on souping up the atmosphere on weekends, and turning this lounge/restaurant into a hopping club. I'll be curious to see if this works.

They've promised to line up the best of DJ's, and have done some minor redecorating to the old Black October (also a Novikov venue), and the new place looks good, if somewhat identity-confused (I'm not surprised, one of the promotional flyers for the new venue promised an "alcohol-inspired" cuisine- a first even for Moscow!).

Despite a stated target market of a "rich and beautiful adult audience of at least 21-22 years", the opening night showed a marked tendencies to the mid-teenage Black October-type crowd, although admittedly somewhat more attractive than previously. Despite promises of "strict feis kontrol", my guess is the crowd that came here for Black October will be drawn to the same venue, and the feis kontrol will capitulate to fill the place.

The venue itself consists of a long bar along the back of a long, mostly rectangular room, with a polished marble floor and annoying interior support columns. Places for go-go dancers and a VIP room have been added to further align the bar with a more club-like atmosphere.

It will be interesting to see what this venue evolves into. I look forward to checking out the food in the near future. If I had to guess, if it is successful, it will attract a pre-party dinner scene giving way to high-end pre-party (at it's best, think Most), but I find it hard to see that it will compete with the high-end clubs later in the evening.

Overall, a successful opening and an interesting reincarnation of a tired venue.
Update: 16/12/2007:
Having attempted to go to Barfly twice in the last week, I have to sadly report that it truly sucks.
On a recent Thursday, there was not a soul in the place. On Saturday night, despite a valiant attempt by some friends & I to dine there. The minimal number of patrons, poor service, unimaginative menu, and average quality food did not win any hearts from our group. I will not be returning.

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