Sunday, 22 June 2008

Review: Malibu (Малибу)

Opening Hours: Summer Weekends from 12pm-late
Category: Mid-Range, Lounge, Summer
Feis Kontrol Rating: Easy - 2/5
Address: Moscow oblast, Mytishchinskiy region, Zhostovo township, Holiday Zone "Bukhta Radosti-2" (the route from Moscow is well signposted to "Malibu")
M: None
Phone: +7 (495) 969-0549, 797-1267

In the future, I think last night will mark the defining moment when I truly knew Moscow had too much money for its own good. Whoever would pay for the most expensive club development ever ($22 million) to create a ridiculously tacky monstrosity in the middle of nowhere needs to have his head examined (money-laundering requirements aside).

Someone gave a designer with a “Finding Nemo” fetish one too many tabs of bad LSD, an unlimited budget, and a mandate to combine Vegas, Disneyland, and Odessa with the glitz of Moscow nightlife, and drop it in a location better suited for “The Blair Witch Project #34”. While I wholeheartedly DO NOT recommend Malibu as a nightspot- it truly has to be seen to be believed.

Let’s start with the location. 25km past the MKAD (the highway that defines Moscow city limits), and 15km past where the streetlights stop, deep in the forest. For those of you not accustomed to going outside the Garden Ring (no, Krysha doesn’t count), a visit to Malibu could qualify you for a year’s worth of Russian cultural exchange. En route, we passed a bunch of guys watching football in a field, their TV plugged into a high voltage power stanchion. The sight of bemused half-naked locals grilling shashlik in tents, watching as a caravan of Moscow’s glitterati in their Bentley’s & Mercedes' crawled by on the rutted, unpaved roads was a sight to behold, and about the only time I could think that the purchase of a Hummer in Moscow could be justified.

After hacking your way through the forest, you arrive at the gaudy neon-illuminated complex, guarded by an exact replica of the ship from “Pirates of the Caribbean”, complete with mannequins of Jack Sparrow, firing cannons, and black sails.

As Malibu is a summer-only venue, there are numerous yacht berths for people to arrive by water. For some unknown reason, the yacht berths are watched over by an elephant.

The main pontoon (the whole club is floating out into the water) is endless. Patrons stroll through a large concrete maw (simulating Viking longboats, I think), flanked by porpoises, to emerge on a long roofdeck. To the right lies a semi-indoor chillout zone, with lounges and multicoloured disco balls. Ahead are two long lap-pools, encircled by neon-laced fake palm trees, and a circular bar. I expected to be served vodka garnished with fruit and little frilly umbrellas.

Proceeding past the deck, you circumnavigate a sandcastle-like building, which houses a couple of bathrooms, a meeting room (wtf?), and another restaurant-type room on the 2nd floor. Across a small bridge, and this venue is starting to feel endless. There are views of the other platform across an interior lagoon, with floating fake yellow lotuses and candless, which can't obscure the cheesy neon sign flashing "Malibu", in a size that could be seen from space, with a style reminiscent of something last seen on Phuket. Across another open platform, and then wristbands are checked for entry into the club.

At this point any remaining semblence of reality and good taste (not that there's much left) vanishes as you enter a subterranean domain with jellyfish, sharks, whales, and who knows what else suspended from the ceiling, a central raised dancefloor (which thoughtfully restricts access to the other side of the room), surrounded by cave-like VIP booths and ringed by an upstairs VIP balcony. A hostess thoughtfully told me that there were 4 levels of VIP at Malibu, with the Super-VIP gold bracelets reserved for celebrities and visiting royalty (this was with a straight face). The walls are done in a quasi-sandy coral reef-like finish, and for a club that was so expensive to build, everything looks cheap and tacky (with the exception of the sound and laser system).

The DJ is perched high on a raised dais above the dancefloor, presiding over seahorse-encrusted decks, while pirate-costumed go-go girls whirl around below (now why didn't they have those in "Pirates of the Carribbean"?). The bars are uncomfortably raised and taller patrons have to duck under their ~5'5" roof to be able to order a drink (and it's damn hot there).

A trip downstairs to the bathrooms (if you can find them) is a treat, with Jaws busting out of the wall half-way down (he makes another appearance popping out of a billboard near the entrance), pirate-encostumed skeletons in the washroom, and Club XIII-like open lipsticked mouth urinals in the mens bathroom. It's a special experience, especially since you're below water level.

Since it was opening night, the crowd was a strange mix of Moscow club scene (I'm still laughing about juxtaposition of the poor girls on stiletto's tottering along the forest paths to get to the club), with some centre regulars mixed in with a strongly regional crew (not surprising given it's located 90 minutes from the centre). The venue is so huge and remote that unless you turn up without pants (as we saw one fellow nearby), the chances of being turned away by Feis Kontrol are slim.

Drink prices are refreshingly reasonable by centre standards, and with familiar faces smiling from behind the bar, management has evidently poached a competent and professional bar staff.
Overall, Malibu has to be seen to be believed. If you're a yacht owner, then I could see it as a good place to pull up for a few drinks and to lie on the beach during the day, but as a nightclub, it's way too far and way too tacky to attract the Moscow tusovka.


Kainy said...

This is crazy!!!!
Moscow forever=)
But it does sounds interesting to try one's=)

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