Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Review: Black Star Club (Блэк Стар)

Opening Hours: Fri/Sat 11pm-last customer.
Category: R'n'B, Exclusive
Feis Kontrol Rating:
Moderate - 3/5 (depending on your fit with the R'n'B crowd).
Top Floor, Kievsky Vokzal Pl., 2 (Evropeisky Shopping Centre)
+7 (495) 220-5510

Moscow rap icon Timati finally opened his own club (after acquiring a taste from his promotional role in the now-defunct Zhara) in late September adjacent to La Terrasse. Having already bitched enough about the access to La Terrasse in previous postings I am delighted to report that access to Black Star is much better with a clearly signposted entrance from street level, a direct elevator ride, and a dedicated lobby.

The Good news: Arriving after having already had a few drinks, you're now going to be actually able to find the place.
The Bad news: Unless you're a (Moscow-style) R'n'B fetishist, you're going to need to have already had more than a few drinks to actually enjoy the place.

My biggest issue with Black Star is that it oozes "shopping mall", with it's rigid design features, uniform height, pre-fabricated walls and roof, despite everything they've done to make it look like a club. But more of that later.

Once you emerge from the elevators, run the gauntlet of Feis Kontrol (new controller these days since summer), and then snake your way left past the (closed) La Terrasse structure, you can head into the small door labelled "Black Star", unless you happen to feel ultra-VIP, in which case you can enter straight into the "White" lounge VIP table area. The main entrance will dump you into the beginning of the long "L"-shaped club, conceptually shaped with a stage in the middle and VIP areas at both ends.

The club is surprisingly big, although the low roof makes it feel much smaller and more cramped than the floor space suggests. A glance across the room as you turn the corner of the bar and the nearby oddly-located but convenient couch reveals what could very well be a mirror (especially given the large mirrored scrolling message boards), but actually turns out to be a deep VIP table lounge.

The decor is a prime example of what I've dubbed "Moscow's Blue Period", where a largely black (or maybe just dimly-lit) interior is accented with polished metal, some type of beaded curtain, and far more blue hue's than previously present in clubs like Dyagilev, Opera or Rai (or maybe it's just my rose-tinted glasses). Blue Period venues often feature a repetitive logo motif, usually with something resembling an out-of-control chevron from the court of France, circa 1740. (the best example of this is Famous, although it looks like Black Star & even Soho have adopted a crest & motto, of all things- "In Good We Trust"- WTF?).

Elements of this type of design (or lack thereof) are prevalent in almost every new venue that's opened in the last six months (eg Famous, Escobar, Kitchkok, Barkhat (although these last two without the blue)), and of course Black Star. That said, it's not particularly objectionable, it's just not unique- and therefore the other elements of the club have to work that much harder to stand out.

This is where Black Star falls down. With mediocre design, moderate-highly priced drinks, and a crowd of little other than young paid models hanging around until about 3am, the only somewhat unique aspect is its music. Black Star is billed as an R'n'B club for Moscow's burgeoning R'n'B scene, and so the music pays some homage to (mostly American) R'n'B artists, mixed with a healthy wallop of the usual Moscow house. If you like it- then Black Star is going to be an attractive venue for you. If you don't, there's no reason to be here.

1 comment:

Nick said...

Drinks are like Opera.. not cheap.. :) Great music :) But the review mentioned guys dressed as rappers.. I confirm the oposite.., i didnt see any guys dressed like that.
Ayways, theres juuust waaay to many girls in there, i dont know how the bar makes money when there was atleast 5-6 girls for one guy. I was waay over my head with these girls. I mean im a good looking guy, but im used to north american girls or french girls. lol I think that night i left my balls back at the apartment...