Here for a friend’s birthday. To keep status quo happy (Asians), Pontoon is the chosen venue tonight, so let’s go!

Upstairs

Perfect @ Pontoon Bar, Darling harbour, Sydney
Assessment Time: 10:10PM – 1:15AM, 3:15AM-3:30AM
Opening Hours: Downstairs: (Open earlier in the night for dinner – 4:00AM) Upstairs: 11:30PM – 2/3AM?
Lockout: No known lockout, but entry is closed to the general public at 3AM, while stampholders are still permitted re-entry rights at all times, though you have to line up in line AGAIN if you want to get back in. Totally sucks.
Address: Listed as 201 Sussex St, but access to the place is more or less via The Promenade at Darling Harbour’s Cockle Bay Wharf. The main entry is now via the ground floor where you will usually see a line of people. After 11PM you can also pay for your entry upstairs and get stamped as well – so there are two effective entry points.
Venue Website: http://www.pontoonbar.com
Event Website: http://www.theperfectnight.com.au http://www.facebook.com/perfectnights
Promoters: Joint promoter companies: Colab, Syndicate Events, GTB, and an extra promoter “Forever Fridays” tonight who are hail from Melbourne – they brought over their MC and a Melbourne based DJ.
Occurrence: Every Friday since Mid-April 2011
Outside Line: We arrived a little earlier than I would usually like, but there were no people in line. As we debated whether we should go in, about TWENTY people jumped in line. Oh my god. We joined the line eventually and got in after about 10 minutes. Upstairs opens at 11PM, and despite having stamps already, we have to line up AGAIN amongst the other people who haven’t paid entry to get access! Bloody ridiculous. It’s the same as well downstairs, once you go outside for whatever reason, you have to line up to get back in. Luckily for the smokers, there are “open” areas on each level where you can puff and stuff your lungs with tar. Later in the night around midnight it took a friend 30 minutes to get in. Tough love.
Dress Code / Door Policy: Smart Casual is promoted here tonight, and pretty much most people here are compliant. Not sure about the hat situation but the last few times I was here, they were okay to wear. Most guys are in pants/jeans and a collared t-shirt, and girls have managed to not wear casual tonight.
Entry Fee / Cover Charge: Standard full fare Asian clubbing price of $25 tonight. If you were on the guestlist and arrived before 11:30PM, you got a card that entitled you to $15 entry. Brilliant, except during a moment of absent mindedness, I forgot to use my card and inadvertedly paid $25 without even realising it. I simply gave the discount card to another friend so they could enjoy the benefits of me lining up early, while they didn’t have to.
Guestlist: Guestlists are no longer valid after 11:30PM. Guestlists to be sent to info@syndicateevents.com.au
Inside: Ground Level: Walk past the easy-to-miss cloak room and cashier to enter the middle part of the floor. To the left is the main bar with about 2-3 staff as well as the entire outdoor area. The are large wooden tables and stools, chairs, lounges about, where people were once dining hours ago. This outdoor area could hold easily 100 people or so. The dancefloor area on the right is a slow covered transition from the outdoor area where also 100-200 people can dance here. The DJ booth sits in the far corner near the toilets. There is little furniture bar a lounge at the rear of the dancefloor. Upstairs: Walk through the chillout/smoking area where there are many lounges, with a view of Darling harbour – continue on into the depths of the dancefloor situated on the far end of the room, as where the DJ is. The setup has slightly changed from last time, where the DJ was in the middle. I think this is a good thing as it is as far away from the smoke as possible, though at risk of the area overheating quickly. The walls are lined with squarely setup lounges. Bar is on the right
Cloak Room: Cloak room downstairs – $5 for placing an item, while it is $2 for rechecks. Pretty reasonable.
Bar Prices / Line: $15.70 altogether for a Gin and Tonic, Orange Juice and coke. $12.90 for a Vodka+Red Bull in a tall glass. At 10:15PM there was no waiting time. At 11PM the wait increased to about 5 minutes. At around 1AM, the wait was timed at about twenty five (25) minutes on both levels up and down.
Bathroom Facilities: Fair, could be a little bigger.
Eviction Count: None spotted, but I wasn’t paying attention.
DJs: Resident DJ’s plus guest DJ Mich from Melbourne
Music Style: Mostly Contemporary RnB downstairs, while upstairs did play some more of the older ‘throwback’ rnb songs. Oh yes, throwback is a word im going to use now.
Crowd: Dominantly Asian, and mostly local Aussie Asians. I don’t think I ran into one international Asian here tonight. Most of the ages were young. Company was of course lots of 21 year olds. That said, the crowd was mostly young 20’s to mid 20’s, as far as I could tell.
Ratio: You know its always going to be more guys then girls, but it was good. A lot of the girls looked their best surprisingly tonight, and I ain’t complaining.
Entertainment: There was no real special occasion except for having the MC and DJ from melbourne to do a set.

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Fresh after ceasing the Flow Fridays @ World Square Event, the promoters have moved their Friday nights to Pontoon bar, resurrecting the old ‘Perfect’ tag as their event name, I suspect to continue with their love of alliterations. I wasn’t too big a fan of Pontoon Bar in the past, but tonight they had the upstairs open as well, which I hadn’t seen yet. It also coincidentally is my friend’s birthday here tonight.. so it’s the ‘perfect’ (ha!) reason to give it a visit – here we go!

Perfect @ Pontoon - Punking it out

Perfect @ Pontoon - Punking it out

(Event Name Resurrection) Grand Opening: Perfect @ Pontoon Bar (Level 2 only) Darling Harbour Sydney
Assessment Time: 11:30PM – 02:00AM
Opening Hours: Unknown. From past experiences at Pontoon it should close at 03:00AM. Opening time unknown.
Lockout: There was no lockout at 2:00AM, but it might have been put into place later.
Address: Listed as 201 Sussex St, but access to the place is more or less via The Promenade at Darling Harbour’s Cockle Bay Wharf. The main level is not ground, but the upper level. It is accessed externally via a set escalators in the courtyard area of Pontoon Bar. (It almost is like the old World Square Pub venue, isn’t it). Ground level doesn’t receive so much attention here.
Venue Website: http://www.pontoonbar.com
Promoter Website: Run by Syndicate Events in conjunction with Colab Entertainment, and Intouch events- specialised webpage at http://www.theperfectnight.com.au
Occurrence: Tonight was Grand opening night, and is set for a weekly Friday occurrence.
Outside Line: A line of approximately 20 people were outside. Luckily some friends of mine had lined up prior and were close to the front. We waited about 5 minutes before getting in.
Dress Code / Door Policy: Hats allowed. Theme is to dress to impress. Guys: Smart Casual recommended. It was strongly advised that all men must wear collared shirts or entry would be denied. I did see some guys inside with t-shirts on, so I am not sure how strict the policy is. I had a t-shirt but with a blazer which got me in, but I took off the blazer once inside. Girls: Recommended to dress sexy/chic, and so happy to report overall almost everyone dressed well tonight.
Entry Fee / Cover Charge: $25 full price. Kills me every time, but appears to be standard for the Asian oriented nightclubs. $15 on guestlist before 11:30PM. No midnight love tonight. I think ground level was free entry for the public to dance their socks off, and that only upstairs was charging. Do correct me if I am mistaken.
Guestlist: Expires 11:30PM. Send guestlists to perfect.pontoon@gmail.com or colab.entertainment@gmail.com – tell ’em I sent ya!
Inside: The event covers two levels, but the focus is of the upper level, with the ground level not getting much love.
Downstairs: Walk into the back of the dance area for about 100 or so people. it is just a roundish room with DJ in the far back wall. To the left is the open bar area for all users with tables, lounges and what not taking up half of the ground floor area.
Upper Level: Outside pontoon is a courtyard area to which patrons can sit down and relax. Escalators from here take you upstairs to the upper level. Walk inside to see a view of Darling Harbour to your left. This immediate area is of lounges and chairs, for people to mingle but not dance. Probably for 40-50 people. Move in to the right where there are a zone of 2-3 small lounge areas for birthdays or what not, then followed by the main areas – dancefloor on the left to hold 80-120 people, and a single bar to the right to hold about 15 people along its length. At the furthest end is the cloak room and bathrooms.
Cloak Room: I did use it but I don’t remember the price. It was reasonable, so I would say it would be $5 or less.
Bar Prices / Line: I didn’t drink, so pricing was unknown. However to get water, there was no simple jugs of water to be around, so I had to line up. After about 10 minutes I gave up, because the line did not move one bit! People were coming in left right and centre to get a piece of the bar action. I could have had better luck going downstairs to use the bar there, but I was too lazy to go outside in the rain. A friend of mine stayed in line for a drink, and she reported it took her 30 minutes for a glass of water. That is really messed up. I secretly hope that future events will have easy jugs of water at the bar, or even better – someone running around with buckets of bottled water giving it away. Oh wait, that did happen! A man came by with a bucket of bottles of water, handing it out for FREE. He was definitely the most popular person of the night. Seriously free – usually bars charge $2 or something for a bottle of water. Am sorry that we didn’t get to see the bottle guy for the rest of the night.

View of the bar (lit by the purple light) and the crowd line

View of the bar and the crowd line (11:50PM)

DJs: Edo, Moto, Bonniez, Flipsta, et al.
Music Style: Mostly contemporary commercial RnB tonight.
Crowd & Ratio: Upper Level: Pretty much mostly Asian Australian here. There are some Caucasians and Indians in the mix, from either downstairs or here for birthdays. There were a slight more number of guys than girls, but that said, a lot of the guys were lined up at the bar, presumably buying drinks for themselves or for some girls – so that left the rest of the venue in a kind of even-ratio.
Entertainment: Just the MC to keep things going. Also CD giveaways were had, and a friend won a copy. Awesome :)
Atmosphere: Upon entry it was pretty busy, it took a while to cut through the crowd to get to the other side. This included the dancefloor, where people are dancing their hearts away. On the dancefloor itself, there is not much room to dance, but it isn’t sardine packed, it is what a typical busy dancefloor is – enough room to have your own little circle, some simple dancing and that’s about it. Throughout the night it was indeed at least busy on the floor – but somehow , I had the feeling the lounge areas weren’t so alive – people were sitting around being .. people. At the time of departure the place was still indeed busy. Throughout the night even though there were a sizable amount of people, it never got heated up and sticky as in the previous venue, so props to the promoters for that. The vibe was pretty good throughout the night.

View of the dancefloor

View of the general dancefloor area (12:30AM)

Video: Walkthrough the main area and music sampling from the night:
YouTube Preview Image

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Leadup
an hour to kill – a mini 4-club dance spree:
Tonight I wore just jeans, a shirt and sneakers..

Pontoon
– Crowd was half indian, half everyone else. Free entry. Casual door policy. RnB. Good venue for an RnB fix. Left after 30 minutes – another asian dancing guy was taking the girls. He was out there, just dancing with any girl he saw, and was doing quite well. I wondered where my energy was tonight.

Pavillion – Two girls in the front, 4 on the side, and indian guys for the rest of the people on here. DJ was playing west coast rap. My favourite anthems were being played (Dr Dre,  Snoop Dogg, etc). A crazy indian was dance-cracking onto the two girls in the front. He was out there, just shaking his body loose. I wondered where my energy was tonight. I think I get intimidated by other good dancers in a desolate setting.

Shark Bar/Hotel – I walked in and there was nobody on the floor. I was about to leave, but they started to play “Push it” by Salt N Pepa. I love this song so I *had* to get up there. So I jumped up and did a little boogie to the song, to the amusement of everybody staring at the elevated dancefloor in the middle. Everyone who looked at me I looked back, and they would stare away. A group of people at the very back took a photo of me and waved hi. The song ended and I ran off.

Spectrum – My usual friends had gone home, so I met up with the French backpackers for some dance. We checked out Spectrum first. Free entry. House. We went upstairs and it was *dead* as. A handful of people dancing, a handful of people sitting down, a small room, and that was it. I don’t think this was meant to be a place for clubbing. Reminded me like an oxford st version of Manning Bar at USYD. I can’t imagine that place being a place for clubbing. We left quite quickly.

We then stumbled upon Oxford Art Factory and settled in..

After Work Art Fridays @ The Oxford Art Factory (Art After Dark) (29th May 2009)

Note: This review is primarily for the ‘Art After Dark’ Room’, and not the ‘Live Art Space’ where a cover charge applied.

About Oxford Art Factory (assessment time 1.30am)
Address: 38-46 Oxford St, Darlinghurst
The Bar: Jugs of beers and cocktails offered for a reasonable price.
Website: http://www.oxfordartfactory.com
Inside: Walking downstairs, there are two rooms:

Live Art Space: Carpeted area with central wooden dancefloor, with DJ up on stage. At the back is an elevated area where more lounges exist. It was mostly dancefloor space.

Live Art Space - Oxford Art Factory

Live Art Space - Oxford Art Factory (image oxfordartfactory.com)

Art After Dark: (where we were) A further flight of stairs down takes you to this room. It’s pretty small, holding about 100 people max. A bar as well here. The room has a high ceiling length, and a big TV on one end of the wall. It’s been painted white, which is different. Tonight there were only lounges along the wall, and not sticking out as in the picture.

Art After Dark - Oxford Art Factory

Art After Dark Bar - Oxford Art Factory - This is where we hung out (image oxfordartfactory.com)

About After Work Art Fridays: (assessment time 1.30am)
Entry Fee/Cover Charge: Free for the Art After Dark Bar, $15 for the DJ in the Live Art Space Room tonight. After 3am it was free for all.
Crowd / Dress Code: Artsy types. People in their 20’s and 30’s. Lots of hats around. anything goes.
Atmosphere: I was expecting not many people to be here, so guess how surprised I was when I saw the whole room packed! Well, it was 1.30am, and it was a small area, but usually at an average to bad venue, 1.30am is when people start going home. So overall it was a good sign.
Music: Art After Dark Bar – Earlier in the evening there were live bands playing, but we missed that. So when we arrived, the band area was cleared and there was a DJ playing a mix of music across pop, rnb, retro and rock. Basically a bit of everything, and each upcoming song would be of a different genre. Somehow though the crowd was fully right into every song being played.

Live Art Space – DJ Sega (USA) was the main act playing tonight, (Indie). I didn’t get to check him out. Later another DJ was playing around 3am, with some dubstep beats, and another artist came up for some raps where I could practise some krumpin on the very open dance floor. The crowd here were all the hardcore types left, so everybody was into it.

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