A birthday! At the Retro. It’s been a long time since I’ve been. Let’s go!!

Saturdays @ The Retro Bristol Arms Hotel

This review incorporates elements from tonight and a prior visit in 2010.

Assessment Time:
11:30ish – 02:30AM

Opening Hours:
Open during the day until 3:00AM (Possibly later?)

Lockout: 1:30AM at time of writing

Address: 51 Sussex St , Sydney

Venue Website: http://www.theretro.com.au

Promoter Website: Self Promoted by the venue

Occurrence: Every Saturday are the themed nights, Friday does not seem to have themed nights

Dress Code / Door Policy: Anything goes. Half the crowd wear casual while the other half, are wearing costumes and outfits. It’s pretty cool.

Entry Fee / Cover Charge: Free if you dress up in the weekly them. $20 Standard cover charge between 9PM and midnightDiscount on guestlist. Tonight’s theme is bikies or something. Some of our friends are of those who are like ‘I hate dressing up’ types – you know exactly EXACTLY what kind of friends I am talking about. They rather cough up money than dress up. The closest phobia is masqueradeaphobia. No line upon lining up

Guestlist: See website.

Inside: The retro is attracting a smaller crowd as opposed to a few years ago. Not sure if due to lockout laws or due to other factors. The ground floor is no longer a dance area.

Level 1
Walk inside to directly enter the stairway upstairs to level 1. It’s the  80’s and 90’s level, split into two areas – Chill out lounge room on the right – where there are sofas a pool table and small bar. On the left is the dancefloor area where there is a bar on the left, a the DJ in the far middle centre, with a podium in front to hold about 10 people. There are sofas spotted to the right along the walls and a private taped off VIP area to the left corner. The middle is dancefloor space dotted with the holding colums.

Level 2
Up to the top 90’s level where you walk through to a carpeted dancefloor room. Bar and VIP/sofas to the right. DJ on the far left corner. Coloured flourescent retro lights flash in sequence. Two podiums on the left to hold about 8 people each, and dancefloor space left to hold about 100-150 people. There are also some beer pong tables.

Cloak Room: Couldn’t find it.

Bar Prices / Line: Didn’t drink tonight. Line at the bar was quite the wait – it’s tragic on level 1 as there is like 1 bartender – the wait is 10-15 minutes. Level 2 there is 2 or 3 bartenders with the wait being approx 5 minutes.

Unknown – Level 2 was pretty good, friendly, joking and mixed well
Level 1 DJ was pretty bad. Played songs in their entirety and quite a few songs even I didn’t know and/or the crowd didn’t seemingly were into. It was truly retro.

Music Style:
Level 1 was dedicated to 80’s and 90’s retro dance and rock music, while the top level was dedicated to 2000’s retro rnb, pop, whatever was well known.

Wildly varied ages from early 20’s to probable late 40’s and 50’s. However dominantly were people in their 30’s as evident by the birthdays and hen’s nights. Dominantly white crowd of Ausises and Euros. Only some Asians were here.
Beer pong competition on level 2

Level 1 1980’s retro was a bit dirty and crowded, but people were enjoying themselves. Like an older version of a backpackers bar. It’s quite a happy vibe with happy tunes playing. Much the same can be said for the top level, but not as ‘happy’ as the middle level. Upstairs was more of a dancing atmosphere due to the younger crowd, smoke machines and less lightingIt is really the upper levels that are the highlight of the venue, and where most of my night was spent.

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We had just finished an epic day at Future Music Festival, and my body was about to go into shock. I was going through a mini-hangover from the drinking earlier in the day. I was starving, I was thirsty, I was tired from the walking and dancing. My body was royally screwed over and crying for some rest. But you know.. it was only midnight and the night was still young… Haymarket Hotel was nearby so I scoffed down some nutrients from a Korean restaurant and then I went down for a little visit.. here we go!

The Market @ Haymarket Hotel

Assessment Time:  ~12:30 – 2am
Opening Hours: 9pm – 2am
Website: http://www.themarketvip.com
Address: 661-663 George St, Chinatown, Sydney

Dress Code / Door Policy: As stated on the door “STRICT DRESS CODE APPLIES.. Guys collared shirts or jackets are essential – no sportswear, shorts or runners”. I was still wearing my American Indian outfit from Future Music Festival a few hours earlier. It was just brown pants with the indian top on, non-collared. I walked up to the scary looking security woman. She looks at me and my outfit and lets me in – telling the girls at the counter “Don’t worry let him in – He’s alright!!!”. Hell yeah – Chief Breaking wind is awesome! (Edit 24/03/10 – Truth be told, the promoters knew about Future Music Festival and apparently have ‘relaxed’ the dress code for tonight for any FMF party goers)
Entry Fee / Cover Charge: $20
Guestlist: Discount if on list. email themarketvip@gmail.com – free entry before 10:30 . Before I got in, some people spoke with me and said I could pretend to be on “David’s guestlist”. However when I got to the counter, guestlists were finished at 12am, so it was no longer relevant. I know the promoter, but only if he were here tonight I could’ve scored free entry.
Inside: Promotional material claims 3 levels. Well its 3, but more 2 and a half. Bottom level is the Mi Cocktail lounge, and is very loungey, and dark. It has a bar and the lounge area is cut into 3 smaller areas, and for the promoters point of view it is presumed these can be used for birthday events. Ground level is where the main bar is and main dancefloor is. The actual dancefloor itself is very small. As small as the one they have at Bar 333. (Yes, they do have a dancefloor, its that small) – about 4 x 5 metres square. Even the bar here is bigger than the floor. Stools are everywhere around. Top level upstairs hangs over the bar and lounge area, to overlook the ground floor. I didnt go upstairs because I was told a group of gangsters were chilling out over there. (All the gansters have matching leather jackets with their gang sign emblazoned on the back) This is where also the DJ is spinning his tracks.
Cloak Room: None
Bar: I didn’t drink tonight
DJs: Kai, Willtown, Biggie, Beef, Nam (obtained for the 20th March event, but these are usually the same DJs for the weeks prior).
Music: RnB, HipHop, House Mashups. I can’t believe they have one DJ to service all 3 levels here. Could it be a money saving exercise? Who knows, it’s a different approach though.
Crowd: Asian, and mostly older. There is a 30th birthday party here, and I see some other asians I recognise around the 25 year old age mark.
Entertainment: No extra dancers or MC that I could recall, but there probably was an MC
Atmosphere: It was busy, but it was not at capacity as it was a few weeks ago when I tried to get in. Interesting. Half the asians being at Future Music Festival and going home afterwards may have been a factor.
360 view video from the ground floor dancefloor
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