Velvet (Fridays) @ The Vault: 14th January 2011

On January 14, 2011, in RnB, The Vault, by James Tran

Prelude
I have naturally been tasked to pick where to go for tonight for a group of 15 Asians aka my friends. Everything was set for the opening of the grand opening of the Asian rnb event at Gypsy nightclub. However Oxford St was a little too far from where we were at King St Wharf. The two other options offered to me that my friends would only consider going to were Flow @ WSP and Babyface @ Tao Lounge. Flow was too small/crowded and the Babyface International Asian scene might not be the right crowd for my Asian Australian friends. I had an event come to mind which I almost forgot, and was the closest to where we were, and which probably resolved these problems… Velvet @ The Vault – It had a local crowd, it was multilevel and it was close by. Hope they like it – here we go!

Velvet @ The Vault
Assessment Time: 11:45PM – 03:00AM
Opening Hours: 10:00PM(?) – 03:00AM
Lockout: Not sure if there was lockout or not from outside. Unlike last time, there wasn’t an internal lockout to go to the underground level.
Address: 122 Pitt St, Sydney. It’s opposite the Westin Hotel at Martin Place, half a block from the north side of Pitt St Mall.
Venue Website: http://www.vaulthotel.com.au
Promoter Website: http://www.velvetfridays.com
Occurrence: Every Friday since late 2010.
Outside Line: There was no line outside as we approached the venue. Friends were afraid the place was going to be dead.
Dress Code / Door Policy: Smart casual is recommended and possibly enforced. Don’t turn up looking scraggy. Guys have jeans/pants with collared shirts, clean sneakers. Girls are equally dressed well, but can probably get away with casual but at risk of not blending in with the crowd.
Entry Fee / Cover Charge: Free before 10:30PM if on guestlist. $15 before 11:30 on guestlist, and $20 full entry. We pay $20 which is a relief – better than other Asian events tonight which are happily charging $25.
Guestlist: velvetfridays@live.com.au
Inside: Walk into the side alley entrance to be presented with the ground level dancefloor. Bar and Shots Bar on the left. Dancing floor area in the middle and right to hold 50 people or so. Close right corner is where the DJ is. On your upper left is a VIP area / lounge for maybe 20 persons. Bathroom is here. In the far corner on the right are a set of stairs that lead downstairs. Walk downstairs to enter the “cooler” underground level room where speakers play music from the DJ on ground level. Podium for 6 people are on the left side. Lounges span the length of one of the walls and a bar takes up the other end of the room.
Cloak Room: I didn’t utilize the cloak room. 2 months ago it was $4 per item.
Bar Prices / Line: $8.50 for a Wet Pussy shot from one of the main bars late at 2:00AM. The wait time was 2 or 3 minutes. There are also two smaller specialised “shot bars” where only Tequila shots, Wet Pussy shots and Jagerbombs are served for express intoxication.
DJs: Unknown
Music Style: Primarily Modern American RnB, with some mashup of House, Hip Hop. I didn’t pay particular attention to it tonight as typical tracks were being played you would hear on the radio.
Crowd & Ratio: Most of the crowd tonight are Asian Australian. There may have been a handful of International Asians but these are the big minority. Other than that I don’t remember spotting any other ethnicities here tonight. The ratio was fair here at about on par male and female throughout most of the night. Didn’t appear violent but apparently there was a fight inside as well as a cat fight outside.
Entertainment: MC to keep things going alone. There was no dancepole tonight. Last time I was here, one of the MC’s friends broke the dancepole.
Atmosphere: On entering the ground level, the floor wasn’t too busy with about 10 – 20 people drinking around. There were 10 people lining up to go downstairs, as downstairs was completely at capacity. Later on in the night, as people gave up on going downstairs, they would stay on ground level and dance here, which was fine, and added to the atmosphere. When we eventually got downstairs the vibe was pretty busy/packed. The podium was chockablock full of people. Very party-like. By the end of the night everybody is basically downstairs as its much cooler than the warm upstairs, and well.. this is where everybody was.

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Deciding between Establishment or O2 – We are all pretty indecisive. None of us have been to either place and, well, I was calling the venue tonight. A friend’s mobile rings and her ringtone is a hip hop song.  Haha, well… O2 it is then… here we go!

Dancefloor under UV light - O2 Nightclub Sydney

Dancefloor under UV light - O2 Nightclub Sydney

Oxygen Saturdays @ O2 Nightclub Sydney
Assessment Time: 11:15PM – 04:00AM
Opening Hours: 9:00PM – 5:00AM
Lockout: None. I had a friend enter freely at 3:00AM
Address: 247 Pitt St, Sydney. There are no clear visible signs to get to the door. Enter the mall via the “Coolabar” sign – there might be a red carpet and standing poster to point users to the O2 nightclub. Head up two sets of escalators to reach level two, where O2 nightclub resides, opposite Coolabar itself. It is also where the Monorail station is located. Bear in mind that O2 and Coolabar are two separate venues on the same level.
Venue Website: http://www.o2nightclub.com.au
Promoter Website: http://www.meentertainment.com.au
Occurrence: Every Saturday night.
Dress Code / Door Policy: Casual is ok. hats are ok. On the door it was stated that “absolutely no Sports Gear allowed”, because this is the place where NRL players head to go clubbing after a big match, right? Right? (the answer is no). Tonight’s theme is a White Party. Most girls wore casual dresses. A lot of the guys here were dressed in urban street gear, complete with hats and sometimes even sunglasses. I saw a T-Pain lookalike in here, you get a glimpse of him on the dancefloor walkthrough video. I really should have research before coming here tonight – Gandalf the white would have made an easy return, but I guess not tonight.
Entry Fee / Cover Charge: Guestlist pricing unknown. $25 full cover charge. $20 if you were wearing white.  My friend got in at 3AM for free after waiting a few moments for the door girl to pack up to go home. That’s an asian for you.
Guestlist: info@meentertainment.com.au
Inside: Walk inside to the main room on the right and the bar/lounge on the left. Bar on the left spans half the length of the venue. Around the corner near the bar are lounges / bathroom / cloak room / chill out area for 40 or so people. Back to the dancefloor, the DJ takes one corner of the wooden floor to hold about 100-140 people. There is also an upper area with a second bar – this can be reserved for special functions, and has a dancing pole and dancefloor for 20-30 people. The dance area is bathed in UV light.
Cloak Room: Cloak room services offered but it was full tonight. FULL AT 11.15PM. Ridiculous. People are putting their belongings on tables and stools nearby and hope for the best. We left our jackets behind one of the speakers on the dancefloor. At the end of the night, my jacket was covered in someone’s spilled drink. Sigh.
Bar Prices / Line: $4 for an Orange Juice. (yes, I was not drinking tonight) . Fishbowl size drinks are offered at the bar and many people are buying them.
DJs: No idea.
Music Style: Most of the songs tonight were of RnB, but this place was heavily guilty of playing Rihanna’s “Rude Boy” at least 3 times during the night. Utterly sick of that song to death now. Otherwise there were some hip hop/rap songs thrown into the mix later in the night after 1AM. There was also some house songs thrown in for mashup.
Crowd: From 11-1.30ish, it was a mixed crowd. The two main groups were Euros and Africans. There were a handful of Asians, but we were the main Asian group in here. After 1.30am, most of the white crowd had left and more of the Africans came in. Hard to tell the age of the crowd, but there was a Hen’s night here, and some older looking folk, so the crowd would be ranging from their early 20’s to early 30’s.
Entertainment: an MC to keep things going. Tonight was a white theme, so there were white balloons dotted around the place.
Atmosphere: On the dancefloor and upper level, it was pretty busy throughout the night. Not packed, but busy enough to not be able to dance freely. On the other side though, the lounge was never really full at all – you could usually find a lounge seat to rest on. When we left, the main dancefloor was still going at about 70 per cent capacity, which is very good for any place. Throughout the whole night it was pretty cool temperature wise – only one or two moments where I felt a little warm after some vigorous dancing – you could however escape to another area of the club to cool down. People mostly kept to themselves except if you knew other people here.
Video: 360 of the dancefloor
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Video: Walkthrough – Bar, Lounge, back to the main dancefloor. You can sort of spot the VIP area where the white balloons are.  Taken 11PM, so still early days.
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We spent a good 2 hours at Pavillion dancing then it reached around 12:30, where everybody typically leaves. It was time to find another club, but we just ended up walking around half of the Sydney CBD area checking out the typical clubs…. so here we go!

11 Quick Club reviews as seen from outside the club aka Window Shopping – 19th December 2009. (Northern Sydney CBD)

Saturdays @ Star Bar on George St
– Packed. However we had overdosed lately on Star Bar and its amusing crowd of non-english speaking tourists. It was a no go tonight, no matter how tempting it was to go inside there.

PS. I no longer write reviews when I visit star bar, as I visit this place too much.

Saturdays @ Arthouse on Pitt St (1am)
– Tonight was not an ‘Asian’ night (Fame), but it was a white-crowd event. House music was playing outside, and there was no line outside – it looked pretty shit inside from the outside. There was a cover charge.

Saturdays @ The Vault on Pitt St
– We walked by this bar and heard RNB music playing! Whoa, we have to try it out. We walk up to the entrance and there is a smallish dance floor with about 15 people dancing on it – it was almost dead, but better than Pavillion. However the bouncer refused us entry on the excuse of ‘a private function’. We were 4 guys so it was understandable, but the private function excuse didn’t seem congruent, as there was no second person to confirm a guestlist. Whatever, it was dead.

Saturdays @ Coolabar
– Music is pumping out, tape and escalators are in operation to the bar upstairs. There are two people outside. It was on! We know Coolabar is a shithole, but we want to wow the crowd inside, if there was one.

We run up but the two people inside tell us we can’t go inside, as the place is closed. What!?! You wonder why some places are even open at all if they are closing at 1.30am on a Saturday night.

Bamboo @ Martin Place Bar
– The line is shorter than usual, but there *is* a line, which is better than the other places so far. Entirely asian, and RNB playing outside, it is tempting to go inside, but all four of us were not big fans of paying $25 to go inside. People inside had santa hats on. We could see Jason the resident Korean bum dancer hogging the podium from the outside.

Security came up and spoke with us. We had a short fun chat and perved on some girls walking by, you know, typical man stuff. Security was called to kick out a drunk person. Moments later he is walking out with a drunk girl and 3 of her girlfriends supporting her. haha, it is not classy at all to see a drunk girl, let me tell you that. Security tells the girls it is all ok, and wraps his arms around the two girls beside him. LOL omg he is hitting on drunk girls outside of thd club – I want to be a bouncer now!!! haha, what a sneaky sleaze.

Funky Buddha @ Verandah Bar on Castlereagh St (Martin Place)
Here they recently opened the trance room again (after a 3 or 4 year absence). Cover is $20, crowd is asian, music is RNB and trance.

We ask some girls who left Funky Buddah if it was any good.
“Average” was the reply. It was in other words, shit. There was, though, a line outside, so it must be somewhat ok.

I do want to check it out as it’s been a while, and I have to see how the Trance room looks now.

Saturdays @ Red Room Hotel Chambers on Castlereagh St (Martin Place)

We were able to peek inside from the entrance – and even though it looked crowded, it didn’t seem like a fun atmosphere. Music was old school RNB, with a cover charge of $20 and an asian crowd.

Tank Nightclub (Bridge lane)
OneLove moved to the Bourbon about a month ago, and we did not know if there was any event, so we took a punt and walked here. It was, unfortunately, closed. (At the time writing, Onelove @ the Bourbon has also shut its doors)… I think I might start a new event here! ha.

20/20 @ Brooklyn Hotel (George St Circular Quay)
Ever since Privilege closed for renovations a few weeks ago, promoters Hypnotize moved their Saturday event to Brooklyn and joined with Urban Agent to help out. The result is that my favourite place to go for free drunk girls and $17 Vodka Red Bulls has turned into a cover charged event full of not so drunk people. I yearn for the former glory days of seediness.

I peek inside the main rnb room and it is pretty packed. I go around the back and look down in the outdoor courtyard area where they are playing house/trance. Back in the no-cover charge days, the place usually had 5-10 people dancing max, while the others sit and watch. Now with the help of the promoters, the entire back area as PACKED. Jesus fucking christ I could not believe what I was seeing – Brooklyn Hotel actually packed out! I could not see any concrete, it was just a sea of people standing up, dancing and cheering. It looked pretty awesome. The bartenders must be having a hard time adjusting to actually having to work non-stop.

However my friends, still don’t want to go inside. They are pretty adamant about not going inside here, considering the crappy times they had the last few times. haha.

Also, regular patrons here (i.e. the islanders) were lining up to get in, not knowing that they need to pay entry. There were some outside, thinking of other places to go. So the crowd inside was a mix of islanders, asians and aussies. Cover charge I am guessing is $20. Based on what I saw, it looks good.

Sienna @ Establishment on George St
We are just walking by. They’re playing house music, though I had thought Sienna was an RNB event. The crowd is dominantly Euro, and cover charge is $20. I do need to check this place out too. It looked pretty busy from what we could see

Saturdays @ Ivy on George St
Loud, and looking quite busy. We can’t see inside from the street but we can hear people cheering from the inside. Sounds like fun. Am definitely going to spend a night here one day next year.

Saturdays @ Bar 333 on George St (2am)
Bottom level was closed and upstairs looked pretty dead.

Arrivederci
By this time we have given up, and we have managed to end up back where we started – standing outside Star Bar. I was dying to do any form of dance, but friends were puffed out from walking up and down the CBD for 2 hours. Fair enough, but I wish they were keen for a dance!! So we called it a night.

Recommendation
If I had to pick a club tonight, it would be 20/20 @ Brooklyn Hotel.