Heaven @ Helm Bar: Saturday 11th Feb 2012

On February 11, 2012, in Helm Bar, RnB, Top 40, by James Tran

A non-Asian night out for Martin and I, so here we go!

One of the many couples tonight

Heaven @ Helm Bar, Darling Harbour Sydney
Assessment Time: 12:40AM – 3:00AM
Opening Hours: 8:00PMPM – 3:00AM
Lockout: Unknown
Address: 1 wheat road, darling harbour. It is located between Pontoon Bar and Sydney Aquarium along the water. You can hear the music blasting out as you approach. There is no real easy way to get there by car, you simply have to walk it.
Venue Website: http://helmbar.com.au
Event Website: http://www.facebook.com/HeavenSaturdays
Promoter Website: http://www.goldlabelevents.com.au
Occurrence: Every Saturday since it opened 2011. Tonight is their 1st year of survival. Hurrah! Always a good sign.

Outside Line: No line when we got in at 12:40AM
Dress Code / Door Policy: Hats allowed. No dress code was encouraged at the door, but most people dressed sensibly. There were some hen’s nights and birthdays here so there were some girls and guys dressed really well mixed with people dressed casually who were more laid back. The website stated that no sport shoes or t-shirts/hoodies were allowed. All I can say is that there were no hoodies.
Entry Fee / Cover Charge: $25 for us as a full charge. This was a big step up from the $15 they had when they first opened. Anyway, you can still get $15 entry if you submit a guestlist and arrive at Helm Bar before 11PM.
Guestlist: submit to info@goldlabelevents.com.au . Birthday packages available for guestlists of 25+ people.

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I’ve always walked by this event and wondered how it was inside, and why there was always a line outside. Did the Establishment really hold an event this good? Tonight is the night to find out. Too lazy to submit a guestlist (there are no easy instructions to do so) so I just kept the night free, brought some friends and rocked up to see how it was like. Here we go!

Sienna @ Establishment - Dance area and seating area behind

Sienna @ Establishment - Dance area and seating area behind. Actual dancing area width spanned from the white pole on the right of the photo to the middle pole. Length was double this picture.

Sienna @ Establishment Hotel

Assessment Time: 11:30PM-01:30AM and 02:30AM-03:00AM. I spent one hour in between to visit Brooklyn Hotel and Jackson’s on George.
Opening Hours: 09:00PM – 03:00AM
Lockout: No lockout.
Address: 252 George St, Sydney
Venue Website: http://www.merivale.com/establishment/hotel
Promoter Website: http://www.rnbsuperclub.com , http://www.facebook.com/sydney-australia/sienna
Occurrence: Every Saturday
Outside Line: The line appeared to be pretty long. Maybe 20-30 deep. Then when you think about it, it wasn’t that long of a wait. We waited about 15 minutes before we were let in. The line moved faster than we are used to at the Asian events.
Dress Code / Door Policy: You pretty much have to dress nicely to get in, or at least fit in here. Pretty much all the guys here have collared shirts, and many have vests and ties to match. Girls equally are dressed immaculately.
Entry Fee / Cover Charge: 2 for 1 entry before 10PM, if you printed out their flyer or had a promotional card for this month. Otherwise it was $15 for the entire night. I was expecting to pay at least $20 but was pleasantly surprised to see $15 for non-guestlist pricing. I wonder how much it was to be on the guestlist..
Guestlist: These need to be submitted via the promoter website, or you can contact on the facebook page.
Inside: The entrance of the venue is more of a chillout area where lounges to the left and right hold 30 each. The entire venue is a long, long room, with a long, long bar to match most of the length of it. The bar eats up about half the space here in the main room. People will need to stand around on the left hand side to mingle with some room to dance. The left side of the bar area could hold 100 people or so. On the far end of the bar, the DJ is located not on the right hand side, but on the left hand side near the window, which was surprising. The immediate dance area next to the DJ can hold another 100 or so people.
Cloak Room: The cloak room was available but surprisingly all I saw was an empty rack of coathangers – I don’t think not even one soul used the cloak room that night.
Bar Prices / Line: Didn’t drink tonight, but the line up for a drink was very short, and half the time the bartenders are looking around looking for someone to serve.
DJs: The entire time we were here, DJ Def Rok was playing, but other DJ’s listed on the site include G-Wizard, Lilo, Eko and Troy T – they could have been playing earlier. The obvious benefit of having one DJ for the majority of the night is that there are no repeated songs!
Music Style: As stated, no repeated songs. RnB is the primary choice tonight, and its a good selection, always keeping the crowd up and about. The style of RnB wasn’t all American African based RnB, there was a very strong latin fused theme going on tonight regarding the songs being played here tonight. Think of Daddy Yankee, Pitbull, Shakira… there was a lot more of this ‘summery’ style of RnB being played. There was also the occasional house mashup as well. DJ mixed well, no complaints.
Entertainment: No extra entertainment.
Crowd & ratio: A good even mix of guys and girls here. Mostly young 18-low 20’s. Nothing to complain about .. there might have actually been more women here than men when i think about it. Dominantly a wog euro crowd from locally around here. The rest are Aussie, with a very small minority of Asians and what not. Also this is the first warm weekend after the previous washouts, and on top of this its the end of semester for uni students and the end of year 12 for all the others – its a big one.
Atmosphere: I’ll leave this in the words of M who was with me: ‘Although Establishment is quite a spacious bar, the impractical layout inside drastically inhibits mobility. The enormous bar in the centre of everything means all traffic is funneled into two streams moving around the bar. The problem with this is that people do not co-ordinate their movements collectively. So you have people who are trying to move to the back obstructing the people who are trying to access the main bar at the front and those who are trying to leave moving in the opposite direction; the people queued at the bar stretch perpendicularly across the walkway obstructing people moving in any direction; and the people dancing occupy every other remaining space. To make things worse, long tables and chairs are lined along the centre of the walkways, constricting the already negligible traffic flow even further, as the people seated at these tables do not move at all until their bottles are empty. After a frustrating crawl through the crowd at the bar, and another crowd at the DJ stand, we finally find some reasonably unoccupied space at the back in the outdoor lounge area. The music is perfect with fresh tracks and the DJ is mixing it together well. Most of the people around the DJ stand are dancing and having a good time and unafraid to enjoy themselves.’ I would agree with the thoroughfare issue – it’s a very busy area along the side; the majority of people were on the pretty packed dancefloor. Atmosphere is also very vibrant amongst the patrons while not overheating thanks to the high ceiling. I liked it.
Video: Walkthrough video of the entrance, walk along the length of the bar, through the busy dancefloor and into the back area where a second bar resides.
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Video: 360 of the dance area
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People milling around on the dancefloor

Dancefloor area of Docks Hotel Sydney

A birthday invite at Docks Hotel. It coincided with the grand opening of the new rnb club event here, so here we go!

Rendezvous @ Docks Hotel, Darling Harbout Sydney
Assessment Time: 11:30PM – 02:00AM
Opening Hours: Early in the night – 03:00AM
Lockout: Did not ask. It didn’t look like there was one.
Address: Shop 255 Harbourside Shopping Centre – Near the big South Steyne Boat at Darling Harbour.
Venue Website: http://www.dockshotel.com.au
Promoter Website: I couldn’t read the poster well enough to find out who was promoting, but here is the event page for one of the DJs who was performing tonight: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=120068251378791
Occurence: Every Friday
Dress Code / Door Policy: Most guys wore smart casual. There was no actual strict dress code and people can go in with hats, t-shirts, clean sneakers, etc. Girls all looked pretty good – pretty dressy.
Entry Fee / Cover Charge:$15 guestlist, $25 Full Entry
Guestlist: I have no idea. You would have to try your luck with the docks hotel management who would pass your details onto the promoters
Inside: Walk inside. To the left is an extended carpted lounge area for 50-70 people. To the right is the bar that runs for half the length of the place. On the far end is a curtained off area for private functions with a secondary bar.  Later it was open access for all.
Cloak Room: $5 per item
Bar Prices: I can’t remember, but there was at maximum 1 person in front of you in line at the main bar. Most of the time you could get service right away. At the secondary bar, the line was 4-5 deep with only one bartender. Didn’t make sense why they didn’t just go to the main bar.
DJs: Moto, Edo, Biggie, Flipsta, Cbu, Mike Hyper
Music Style: Contemporary RnB and classic Hip Hop near the end of the night
Crowd: Mixed crowd tonight of local Asians and Euros, Probably 70/30 was the ethnic ratio. Gender ratio was 50/50. Age of the crowd was in their 20’s Birthday girl was 24 I think, and other Euro girls we met were 28, so its quite a range.
Entertainment: The promotional poster stated “Special Performances” and “Free Shirt Giveaways”. Throughout the time I was there, I didn’t see or hear any announcement of T-shirt giveaways. Plus, what was the “Special Performances” -????? It was as though they just threw some words together to make it sound good, hoping that people didn’t really notice that there was no actual Special Performance of any sort at all. Well actually, I did see the MC perform a dancemove where he rolled his hat down the length of his arm, behind his head, to the other end of his arm – I thought that was pretty special. Eventually nothing eventuated. There is also girls only podium on the dancefloor.
Atmosphere: Underwhelming for a grand opening. I really didn’t pick up much notice of the opening of this new event. The place was probabaly at one quarter to one third capacity.
Video: Walkthrough Video at 12:15AM
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Here for a birthday on a Sunday – here we go!

Sundayze @ The Albion

Assessment Time: 8pm-Midnight
Website: http://www.albionhotel.com.au/
Address: 135 George St, Parramatta
Dress Code: Casual ok. Most guys wore t-shirts, and girls wore dresses.
Entry Fee / Cover Charge: Free
Guestlist: n/a
Inside: Courtyard was open only tonight. Small narrow dancefloor on the side to hold about 100 people.
Cloak Room: N/a
Bar: One bar
DJ: DJ Jorgie Jay, DJ Fresh & DJ Adrian Allan
Music: House, RnB, Pop
Crowd: Dominantly European and Middle Eastern. Some Aussies and no Asians except for us. Lots of men with tight t-shirts on showing off their muscles. It’s gross.
Entertainment: n/a
Atmosphere: Dead early, but just like any normal nightclub, people did not dance until around 10:30, but after that it got pretty packed in the small dance area. In the courtyard it was bustling, with most tables occupied. It was a good atmosphere later in the night.

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Highlife - Favela Podium

Highlife - Favela Podium

I’ve always wanted to go back to Favela. With Privilege Bar closed, their Friday RnB nights moved to Favela – It was time to check it out – Dance buddies C and M are with me tonight – here we go!

Highlife @ Favela Nightclub Sydney

Assessment Time: 12:50am – 1:50am
Website: http://www.favela.com.au, http://www.paulstrangepresents.com
Address: 1 Kellet Way, Potts Point, Sydney
Dress Code / Door Policy: Casual ok. Hats were ok in here.
Entry Fee / Cover Charge: $20
Guestlist: send to guestlist@paulstrangepresents.com
Inside: This is a two room setup. As you walk in, you will see lounges and a central bar. On the lower level is a tiny dancefloor area for 20 or so people and a DJ. This is where the old school and funky house is playing. There are two separate flights of stairs to go up to the main room. Here is a slightly larger floor for 50 or so people. Bar, DJ, and lounges along the side. There is also a VIP room if you choose to borrow.
Cloak Room: None
Bar: $4 Tap Beers, $6 House shots. The wait was about 5 minutes for a glass of water.
DJs: Moto, Tikelz, Samurai, Mo Funk, Maurice Beats
Music: RnB, Hip Hop, Old School, Funky House. No real complaints.
Crowd: Mostly white. I think we were the only asians in here. Everyone here is young and good looking.
Entertainment: There is an MC in the main room to help out with the atmosphere. The lights help as well.
Atmosphere: It was pretty crap throughout the whole place. I heard Saturdays are packed, so I assumed Friday tonight was to be awesome as well. Well, it wasn’t. It was pretty shit. There were no more than 5 people on the dancefloor below, and no more than 10 in the main pit of the dancefloor.

Videos:

Walkthrough:

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Video of the ceiling lights:

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My footy team, the Cantebury Bulldogs, had just lost to the Parramatta Eels in the semi finals. I was leaving the football stadium, all depressed. I decided to ditch my plans for Docks Hotel tonight and go home. I was that buggered.

Right as I get home, I get an SMS invite from my friend M to go to the Albion Hotel Parramatta for some clubbing. Well.. I haven’t been here on a Friday night, so why not – it was probably cheaper here than a $25 cover charge at darling harbour – so here we go!

The Albion Hotel (Gasworks Nightclub)

Assessment Time: 12.15am – 4am (closing time)
Address: 135 George St, Parramatta
Dress Code: Casual OK. I was wearing my wig, black collared shirt, jeans and leather shoes.
Cover Charge / Entry Fee: $10 I think, or $15.
Inside: Gasworks Nightclub takes up about a third of the area of Albion Hotel. It is basically one big room with lounges against one wall, some tables/chairs on the other side, DJ at the front along with a massive podium (enough space to hold a band), and bar at the back.
DJs: DJ Tommy Funk.

Music: RNB and house. DJ mixed it up well – it was more house than rnb and thank god for that.
Crowd
: Caucasian/Euro. All the girls dress pretty well here, not many girls with jeans here, lol. Seemed like an even ratio
Atmosphere: Vibe was good! Having the local football team win the semi finals had everybody here in a good mood.
Walkthrough Video

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We finished a wedding out west. I am in my tuxedo and I feel awesome. I was also smashed. The city was 1 hour away. I didn’t care. I was in a tux – We were going clubbing!! Luckily I had some friends at Home Nightclub…

About Home Nightclub:
Location: Cockle Bay wharf, Darling Habour
Website: http://www.homesydney.com
Inside: All rooms except the mid-wall room was open. Main room on the floor, with upstairs balcony area and 2nd bar. Outdoor smoking area connected to this. A 2nd smaller room on the 2nd level. 3rd level are 2 extra rooms. This place is a maze of rooms.

About Homemade Saturdays:
Assessment Time: 1.30am-3.30am
Dress Code: Casual ok. I was wearing my tuxedo from the wedding. You also get fingerprinted and photo scanned on the way in.
Entry Fee / Cover Charge: $25
Guestlist: See website
Cloakroom: Yes, at the bar near at the DJ eng.
Bar: $12 yaberbombs.
Music: House in the main room. Can’t complain, all the commercial house tunes were being played. Actually it was executed quite well here. There was also a saxophone player to add another dimension to the music – much like the Bongo players at Bungalow  and Cargo Bar.

Supporting saxaphone player used to great effect with the music

Supporting saxaphone player used to great effect with the music

RNB room – RNB of course – but I wasn’t there long enough.

Party tunes and retro at the top level. They seemed to have combined all the rooms into one major huge event.
Crowd: Mixed – Asians, Euros
Atmosphere: Party and vibing in the main room. However the other rooms seemed pretty dead. Especially the RNB room as nobody was there – it was the most dead room of them all. There were a hundred other places where you could have your proper rnb fix – and Home Nightclub doesn’t seem to be popular right now as the place to be for it.

360 from the main podium

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Timeline:
Kicked off the podium by the sexist DJ
There are girls up at the front dancing. Drunk old me wants a dance too! I went up and danced for a good 50 seconds. Then I hear a:

DJ: “OI!”
James: (turns around)
DJ: “GET OFF THE STAGE – NOW!!!”
James: (jumps off stage)

Man.. what a cold DJ. Given, he probably has a lot of drunk guys coming up onto his stage, but fuck you anyway Mr DJ, even if you played really good beats. A minute later I have my female friend go up and dance, and there was no objections. Total sexism!!!

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