Saturday, 16 August 2008

Review: Vanilla Ninja (Ванильная Нинджа)

Opening Hours: Thursday midnight-late
Category: Ultra-Exclusive
Feis Kontrol Rating: Ridiculous - 5/5
Address: 15 Rochdelskaya Ul.
M: Ulitsa 1905 Goda
Phone: Not listed
Website: N/A

This new Thursday-only über-elitny joint venture between the Famous (First) and Krysha Mira crew takes exclusive to a new level. There is no Feis Kontroller, and entry is by list-only. Unless you’re on the list, or have someone on the inside to let you in, you’re not getting past security, no matter who you are or how good you look.

And how to get on the list? Well, firstly you have to cut off your little toe, send it along with a lock of hair from a teenage virgin (hard to find in Moscow) to Sergei Zverev, then turn up at Krysha at 11.11pm on the full moon, where you will participate in the human sacrifice of a lesser mortal who had the poor judgement to be caught partying at Sorry Babushka. Then, well... OK, maybe not, but it’s something like that.

The club is located on the second floor of the same building as Famous, and in fact the bathrooms of Vanilla Ninja are the VIP bathrooms for Famous (more about them later). Access is down the same driveway, but you go past the Famous entrance to the enormous white gates (Element called them Mordor-like, which is apt).

Once you have satisfied the list-gods, a small door pops open within the larger gates, and you scurry through to a spacious VIP parking area with the usual dazzling array of the cars of Moscow’s rich & bored. A small wooden door flanked by candles provides access to a candle-lit staircase taking you to the upper level. It’s here that the startling similarity to Gazgolder’s decor first hit me.

Arriving on the second floor, you see that the Ninja is small. It’s a single room with a bar on one end, DJ booth on one wall facing a tiny dancefloor, and a handful of VIP tables at the other end. On either side of the DJ table, flat panels screen mostly lesbian porn and on the opposite wall a working? fireplace and another couple of couches.

The overwhelming decor theme strikes me as “modern Gazgolder”, with the same quasi-antique feel (ornate couches, cracked tiles, lots of gold paint), but with more mirrors and metal, see-through air-conditioning, and less of Gazgolder’s brick. It’s quirky, but it works.

The crowd is a similar mix of beautiful people that you’d expect to see at Krysha with fewer of the artsy types, and plenty of industry people, given it’s a Thursday. The DJ pumps a mix of heavy house and quasi-electronica, not dissimilar to Krysha or Gazgolder, to a crowd gyrating on the dance floor.

The bar serves the usual mix of overpriced (think Famous) drinks, and given the small venue and familiar crowd, people seem to be having a good time.

The bathrooms deserve a special mention (see my Famous writeup), they’re huge and have a spacey design, with UFO wallpaper, changing colour lights and enough room to throw your own party in there (which no doubt occurs frequently).

Overall, if you like Krysha, Gazgolder, or cozy places with hardcore music, Vanilla Ninja is a good place. I personally like the gimmicks and the crowd, and once inside, people don’t seem to take themselves or the venue too seriously. It’s a fun alternative (or warm-up) to Opera on Thursdays!

No comments: