Friday, 22 August 2008

Review: Black Star / La Terrasse (Блэк Стар)

Opening Hours: 7 days, 3pm-last customer. Feis Kontrol from 10pm Fri/Sat.
Lounge, Pre-Party, Exclusive
Feis Kontrol Rating:
High - 4/5.
Top Floor, Kievsky Vokzal Pl., 2 (Evropeisky Shopping Centre)
+7 (495) 229-8428, 229-8429

Following the closing of Zhara, Moscow rap icon Timati has opened the first of several bars in a complex located on the top of Evropeisky shopping mall in Kievskaya.

La Terrasse is the first bar to open, to shortly be followed by Black Star Club. Similar to venues like Royal Bar or Kalina, it seems to be positioned as a great warm-up bar or a place for a more chill evening listening to cool beats while reclining on couches.

This place is painful to get to. Once you know the right entrance ramp from the street, you drive up for what seems like forever, asking directions and passing through at least two more entrance gateways (vehicle Feis Kontrol) before you even get to club parking. After that it’s into Evropeisky, to an elevator to the top level. I’m exhausted and in need of a Red Bull before I even get to the bar.

Once through Feis Kontrol (ex-Dyagilev VIP), the venue opens into a comfortable lounge, with a long rectangular shape, cozy cream sofas everywhere, a central bar, and a DJ spinning chilled beats with just a hint of R’n’B to promote the relaxed vibe. To get patrons in the mood to party, the music tempo increases through the evening on weekend nights, sounding more like Opera’s Thursday offerings (Russkie Pop mixed with enough R’n’B to convincingly claim it’s an R’n’B party (think “Umbrella” remix)).

Despite the recent opening, the bar staff seem capable and relaxed, and will show off their flair skills at the sight of a cute girl at the bar. Drink prices are reasonable, but then again, you are on the roof of a shopping mall. The menu is typical Evro, but dishes are well-prepared, tasty, and surprisingly reasonably priced too.

The crowd on the nights I have been there have been a little sparse, but high quality. There are plenty of stunning women lounging around, and it’s much more tusovka than trashy (a relief after Zhara- but then again, I’m not their target market).

Based on La Terrasse, I would expect Black Star to be something like Zhara meets Soho. Timati & his partners are likely to capitalise on the increasing maturity of R’n’B to move the defunct Zhara upscale, and I’ll be curious to see how it goes. If you like Timati or R’n’B, it should certainly fit your bill.

Overall, La Terrasse is a great place for a snack or pre-party drink, but unlike Royal Bar (also a pain to get to), there’s not enough there to keep you there for a whole evening, so I don’t know if the odyssey to get to it is worth it. If it was on the street someplace, I’d love it, but I’ll reserve judgment until it’s fully operational.

To be continued...

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