Sunday, 30 March 2008

Review: Club London (Лондон)

Opening Hours: Fri-Sat 11pm till last customer
Category: Mid-Range
Feis Kontrol Rating: Moderate - 3/5
Address: Prospekt Vernadskogo, 14
M: Prospekt Vernadskogo
Phone: +7 (495) 749-4959, 133-9778

It's always a challenge to review a venue on opening night, the place is mobbed, the bartenders don't know what they're doing, and nobody knows where to go. However, even by opening night standards, London's was a clusterf**k. In the ten minutes we waited at the coatcheck, they couldn't even coordinate themselves to take a single coat. Half the club was running around coats in hand.

Now that I've got that out of my system, let's review the club. Firstly, London is FAR from the centre. Despite being positioned as a glamour club, it' s a pretty safe bet that Moscow's glamour set isn't going to hike out to Prospekt Vernadskogo to a random shopping mall on a regular basis. On the other hand, drinks are cheap!

The club itself is cleverly done. Someone allowed an interior designer to run amok and attempt to cram every London icon into a single club. Once down the entrance staircase, patrons are greeted by an open space decorated with old-fashioned lampposts and park bench-type couches, upside-down umbrellas on the ceiling, and walls alternately displaying graffiti and crafted London cityscapes. The (poorly designed) unisex bathrooms are located through a traditional red phone booth.

As you venture further into the club itself, a two-level space with a checkered floor opens up. Twin staircases lead up to the VIP area upstairs, which is unremarkable, with couches and a low ceiling overlooking the dance floor downstairs. Go-go dancers gyrate above both bars downstairs, and further tables are tucked away in the corners.

The crowd was mixed, with a few of Moscow's high-end clubgoers, but seemingly mostly consisting of more "regional" patrons, more commonly seen at out-of-centre establishments. This isn't surprising given London's location, but strange considering how the club is positioning itself. I plan to visit again in the next few weeks to see how the crowd settles out, but given my other impressions of the club, I'm not optimistic.

The cutest touch of the evening were the models wandering around dressed (partially) as London Royal Guards, complete with tall furry hats (I doubt these were genuine bearskin).

The music was another disappointment. Despite a high quality promo CD, the DJ on arrival was spinning "Short Dicked Man", and then proceeded through some other poorly selected 90's remixes. Not sure if this was intentional and somehow linked with perceptions of London (the city), but let's hope for that to improve.

All-in-all, London's shortcomings are not insumountable, and nothing that decently trainined coatcheck staff, practiced bartenders and Feis Kontrol and a new DJ couldn't fix, but I think they should give up on the glamour set and reposition themselves as a top out-of-centre establishment catering to the large nearby university population.