Embassy Club @ Zeta Bar Sydney

On April 19, 2014, in Hip Hop, House, RnB, Zeta Bar, by James Tran

The promoters for the old popular Saturday nights at Zeta Bar called it a day, and the gap has been filled by Urban Agent et al, for tonight’s event. Let’s check it out!

11:50AM

11:50AM

Embassy @ Zeta Bar

This review encompasses multiple visits: Grand Opening night (May 2013), various visits in between, and a 19th May 2014 full visit.

Essentials:
Opening Hours:
09:00PM – 04:00AM

Address:
Hilton Hotel, accessed via 488 George St. Zeta Bar is on Level 4, but you need to wait outside in line as the elevator is guarded by security.

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

Event Website:
https://www.facebook.com/embassysydney/

Promoters:
Urban Agent, et al.

Occurrence:
Every Saturday since May 2013

Dress Code / Door Policy:
Encouraged that collared shirt and dress shoes for guys, and at least decent dresses for girls. Not too casual. Quite a number of guys were very suited up / dressed well. No homo.
I got in most recently (20/4/14) with a t-shirt, jeans and my running shoes. I was not planning to go clubbing this particular revisit.

Entry Fee / Cover Charge:
$25 Standard entry if you are coming off the street
$15 before 11:30PM if you submitted a guestlist. Grand opening, I got the $15, then the week after I sent my own guestlist a day before and they didn’t find my list on the night, so I had to pay $25 second time round..

Drinks
I didn’t purchase drinks here.

Bottle Service
$330AUD for a bottle of 750mL Grey Goose with unlimited soft drinks – Only available for reserved tables.

Passouts:
No passouts before midnight.
Lockout laws in place.

Guestlist:
embassy@ua.com.au

Cloak Room:
$5 for any item in the cloak room. The cloak room is just as you walk in on the left wall, at the realms of the dancefloor.

Tonight:
Assessment Times
:
19th April 2014: 11PM-03:00AM
10th May 2013: 11:30PM – 1:30AM
3rd May 2013 (Grand Opening): 11:20PM – 2:30AM

Outside Line:
(19/4/14 ; 11:30PM) Took about 10 minutes of lining up.
At 11:20PM: (3/4/13) It took 5 minutes to get to the front of the line, but at that point in time, the venue reached “capacity” at 400 people. I had to wait a further 20 minutes (11:45PM) before I could be let in. No idea how long the people behind me had to wait but it would have to be had been quite some time.

Inside:
The layout has remained exactly the same. Elevator to take you up to level 4. Come out and turn left to enter the near front of the narrow, marble stone, hallway-like venue. On the right is the DJ set with dancefloor (for about 50 people) and “fireplace” which isn’t really on. There is also the largest of the reserved areas, which is the same size as the dancefloor.

Turn left and walk down the hallway to the rear. On your left is the long main bar which serves cocktails and standard drinks. It can serve probably 15-20 people.

At the far end is the second bar, to hold 10 people at the frontline. In this rear there is a second, “minor”  DJ playing beats separate to the main area at the front.

On the right are small curtained off reserved areas for people who like sitting down in a nightclub.There are about 2 large reserved areas and 3 smaller, non-enclosed areas which are just like sofas. On the far left is the outdoor smoking area / terrace overlooking george st.

It’s quite the long and narrow place and almost resembles Martin Place Bar (where the same promoters used to promote) but more relaxed and classier.

Bathroom Facilities:
Pretty well maintained. The kind where there is a permanent person in the washroom giving you paper towels.

Music Style:
Mostly Rnb, Top 40 and some daring trance / house / EDM tracks. Lots of hands in the air kind of tunes.

Crowd:
(19/4/14) Mostly Aussie Asians. Mix of ages, but mostly people in their mid-20’s late 20’s.
(2013)Opening night it was a mix of Asian and non-Asians who thought it was a regular night. The following week there was pretty much all Asians.

Ratio:
Not too favourable. There were plenty of guys to go around the place. Best guesstimate 1 girl to 3 guys.

Entertainment:
No extra MC’s or dancers

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After leaving Verandah Bar, organisers of Vanity have re-opened at The Watershed Hotel. Tonight is the second week of opening – It’s bloody pissing down cats and dogs and we were all pretty drenched with rain..  so let’s get inside asap please – here we go!

Floor at 12:20AM

Vanity @ The Watershed Hotel, Darling Harbour, Sydney 
Assessment Time: Just before 11:00PM – 2:55AM
Opening Hours: The venue is open all day for the general public but the Vanity entry cash register is in place by approximately 9:30-10:00PM. Closing time would be ap
Lockout: Unknown but we saw people re-entering at 2:00AM
Address: 10 Darling Drive, Darling harbour, Sydney. OK Where the hell is that? It’s NOT ON THE SAME SIDE AS Pontoon or Home Bar! It’s opposite! Find it at Harbourside Shopping Centre. We had an epic discussion (note: argument) about which side the bar was on before asking google maps. My team won :) When you get to the shopping centre its not hard to find, just look for the place around the middle of the centre with the loud music coming out. Entrance is outside by the water. 
Parking: Special mention goes to parking. It’s a bitch to park in Darling Harbour, but if you park at the Harbourside Shopping Centre carpark and validate your ticket at the cloak room inside the venue, then you only have to pay $10. Not bad if you hate walking.
Venue Website: http://www.thewatershedhotel.com.au
Event Website: https://www.facebook.com/vanitysyd
Promoters: Urban Agent, ESO Events
Occurrence: Every Friday since September 2012
Outside Line: No line as we entered (10:55PM), but when we got to the counter, about 10 people suddenly were lining up behind us.
Dress Code / Door Policy: Very relaxed policy here. A mix of casual, and smart casual were dressed tonight. So guys can wear normal T-shirts and even hats and any form of shoe. Girls are allowed to wear leopard prints too.

2AM crowd status.

Entry Fee / Cover Charge: $25 Normal Entry. $15 on guestlist (before 11:30/12???). Birthday Packages available where birthday person gets free entry. 
Guestlist: Ask your preferred promoter, otherwise either of the following emails: vanity@esoevents.com.au or vanity@ua.com.au

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We wanted to visit another club tonight but from the outside it looked really, really, shit, so we didn’t take any chances, and went down to the Martin Place precinct to visit one of the clubs there..  here we go!

Front w/ DJ

Front w/ DJ

Luxe (Formerly Vanity) @ Martin Place Bar
Assessment Time: 12:25AM – 3:00AM
Opening Hours: Around 10PM – 4:00AM ??
Lockout: Unknown, but they were still accepting entry fees for people after 3AM for entry.
Address: 51 Martin Place (Elizabeth St corner), opposite hotel chambers.
Venue Website: http://www.martinplacebar.com.au
Event Website: http://www.facebook.com/LuxeSaturdays
Promoters: Urban Agent, VIPList, ESO
Occurrence: Started 3rd March. Previously it was called Vanity, held next door at Verandah Bar, and it has recently moved here to Martin Place Bar.
Outside Line: The line looked long. 30-50 people lining up. It took about 15 minutes to get in. It is frustrating to see other people being able to cut the line and get in beforehand by knowing the promoters et al. , it always is.
Dress Code / Door Policy: Quite a few people are here from Future Music Festival, so the dress code is very relaxed tonight – people in their singlets and outfits mixed up with people who came here dressed up for clubbing.
Entry Fee / Cover Charge: $25 Full entry.
Guestlist:Contact your preferred promoter or use any of the following: Info@eso.net.au luxe@viplist.net.au luxe@urbanagent.com.au

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Underground Level: Dancefloor

This event had all the hype, and it pretty much drove my curiosity insane! Take my money you sneaky little promoters, its time to visit this event – here we go!

Volar @ Civic Hotel (All 3 levels)
Assessment Time:12:35AM – 03:30AM
Opening Hours: Unknown the exact time of opening for the club levels – probably 10:30PM. The club levels close at 04:00AM
Lockout: Unknown, but throughout the night it seemed to be okay to slip in and out of the venue, so long as there isn’t any trouble going on.
Address: 388 Pitt St (It is on the corner of Pitt St and Goulburn St between World Square and Mr B’s Hotel)
Venue Website: http://www.civichotel.com.au
Promoter Website:Primary Promoter: http://www.urbanagent.com.au alongside with ESO.net.au, 1nitestand.com.au , viplist.com.au, Z3nent.com, EpikEntertainment.com.au, G6
Occurrence: Every Friday since March 2011. (Tonight was the third week open)
Outside Line: The line was pretty short when I arrived (I did arrive a bit late), but earlier it was reported to be much longer.. to at least 50 deep. I waited about 5 minutes or so to get in.
Dress Code / Door Policy: Smart Casual is recommended, but it does appear that pretty much most attire is accepted tonight. A hat was spotted worn inside the club, so I assume hats are okay. I wore a black t-shirt, jeans and clean white sneakers and got in without a problem.
Entry Fee / Cover Charge: $25 is the full charge tonight….$20 on the guestlist. Guestlists closed at midnight.
Guestlist: Email volar@urbanagent.com.au or submit via the website. The guestlist submitted was not recognized at the door when my friend Marty came up, which was unfortunate. Alternate addresses are volar@z3nent.com and volar@epikentertainment.com.au
Inside: It’s promoted as three levels of clubbing. Upper/Rooftop level, ground level, and Underground.
Inside Upper Level: Otherwise known as the Rooftop level, walk into enter an area with a bar to your left and lounges to your right. The bar has three sides to it, to line up maybe 15 people comfortably. A narrowish path leads you to the other side of the room, where the open space serves as the dancefloor. In the corner is the DJ area and 2-tiered podium for dancing. The podium holds about 10 people. The immediate clear area for dancing holds about 40-50 people, while people can still dance a bit further back near the entrance or on the other end near the VIP area. Tonight the VIP area was roped off. On the diagonally opposite corner of the room is the smoking area, where people sit around on marble/wooden seating arrangements and smoke and talk. The area is ‘roped’ off by a thin stream of water, similar to the Cool Zones at Town Hall station during afternoon peak hour.
Inside Ground Level: Enter the ground level from Pitt St and be presented with a bar to your left spanning half of the floor. Roughly the same size as the Rooftop level bar. DJ area in the corner with a small dancefloor for 20 or 30 people. Stools and lounges dot the walls. No podiums and minimal lighting exists here, but there is a disco ball.
Inside Underground Level: It kind of feels like you are walking to the bathroom going down the stairs. Then you realise, that there are actually toilets here. However, there is also an entrance to the Underground room. Walk in here to be faced immediately with the side of the bar, about the same or smaller size than the other two bars above. On the right are saloon like seating arrangements on the wall, with a mirror running along around shoulder height on the side. On the far left corner is the dance area. It is actually a sunken squareish area about 50cm below the floor level here. The area holds 50 comfortably upto 80-100 squishily in my estimation. Rails border the sunken dancefloor so that observers can watch on by. Right in front of the dancefloor is the stage area at floor height. The stage could hold 20-40 people. This room also holds one of the most well recommended sound systems in the Sydney club scene.
Cloak Room: Located in the Underground level room. Pricing is unknown. Marty got inside at midnight and discovered that the cloak room in the Underground level was at capacity! That’s crazy! It’s not a very big cloak room though. It would be hard enough to cater for one full level full of people, let alone 2 full levels of people. Keep this in mind and put stuff in the cloak room ASAP for this event.
Bar Prices / Line: Upstairs is a nightmare to get drinks. Just like the Taboo event on Saturdays here, you still have to wait at least 20-30 minutes to get served, if you don’t push in. Ground level, there generally isn’t a line or a very sparsely populated line – the sole bartender here was a testament to that. In the Underground level, the line wasn’t as bad as rooftop – the line was 2-3 people deep with about a 10-15 minute wait during peak times. Pricing unknown – I didn’t drink tonight.
Music Style: The poster at the time was that the Upper level was dedicated to RnB, which was true. The poster mentioned the bottom underground level was dedicated to House music. This was kind of true. Some house was played, but easily the majority of music played was that of RnB/House mashup. The promoters had to cater for the crowd here tonight. Every time a house song came up (even if it was commercial house) which did not even have a hint of RnB in it, the dancefloor would pretty much clear out, and people would head upstairs to the other room. It’s quite the sad story for the Asian House music lovers. Then, when an RnB song or a pop song came on.. the TB’s would come RUNNING back to the floor to have their little dance. The music sounded pretty freaking awesome though with the sound system. very crisp even though it was pretty loud. I guess i didn’t appreciate it as much last time I was here due to me not appreciating the type of music they were playing that night. The Ground level was a designated ‘chillout’ area by the promoters, but there is some Retro music playing here with matching dancefloor. Typical Retro from the 70s and 80s would be played here, from my time in this floor.
Crowd & Ratio: (Upstairs and undergound levels) The majority .. maybe 85% were of Asian descent. It would be a mix of Asian Australian and Overseas based Asians. The rest of the populace consisted of Caucasians, some Europeans/Middle Easterns and Indians. Upper level had the distinct advantage/disadvantage to have a prominently more dominant male crowd, for whatever reason I dont know why – maybe they didn’t like the house/rnb mashup music in the underground. Either way, I personally didn’t stay up here too long. The Underground level also had heaps of guys at peak, but as the night went on.. the ratio started to become more balanced – Quality was good on both sexes, so nothing to complain about here. Ground level, it was pretty much mostly Caucasians of mixed ages, who were appreciating the music.. and the odd handful of Asian folk who came here for a bit of a rest. Nothing special here. Overall, I am guessing tonight is a mix of young crowd and old… I would hazard to say there weren’t too many TB’s to be honest, but the crowd in general is young. 
Entertainment: MC’s on upper and underground levels. A bottle water dump competition (aka cleverly disguised wet t-shirt contest) was on the cards followed by a booty shake competition. Oh wait, what’s that you hear? Oh yes, its me dropping the V-BOMB – The VIDEO BOMB of BOTH competitions for your viewing! Booyah!! Go on and watch it… you perverted scumbags
YouTube Preview Image
Atmosphere: Underground Level Was pretty packed in the dance area, since most of the happenings and going ons were here. The sound system impressed me well enough to stay here the majority of the night. People are pretty much constantly dancing here the entire night. Only about after 1AM then did some space free up for us other people to have a chance to dance, but it still kept busy. I mean, there were less and less people, but it didn’t feel dead as people were still dancing and enjoying themselves.
Atmosphere: Upstairs/Rooftop Level It was extremely packed as well, but the amount of guys there compared to Underground Level didn’t encourage me to try to slice through the crowd. I’m sure girls with thick skin and a propensity to enjoy the act of rejecting the advancements of men would love it here. Later on in the night the population does decrease significantly after 1:30AM, as people realise downstairs is much more better.
Video Montage
YouTube Preview Image

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Table reserved for James

Table reserved for James! Shanghai Nights @ Brooklyn Hotel

A friend has a birthday and has decided to hold it at Brooklyn Hotel for the Shanghai Nights event. . I don’t want to go, as last time was mediocre for me, but I must keep up appearances, plus it will give this place another chance for a review, so here we go!

Shanghai Nights @ Brooklyn Hotel
Assessment Time: 09:30pm-1:00am (Including lining up from 09:30pm – 10:15pm)
Opening Hours: Club night opens its doors 10:15 and closes at approx 4:00am. Brooklyn Hotel is open from 10am – 4am.
Address: Corner George and Grovenor Streets
Dress Code / Door Policy: Standard dress code applies. Jeans ok, normal shoes ok. Runners is risky, but you may or may not get in.
Entry Fee / Cover Charge: Free before 10:30 if you are on the guestlist. $25 otherwise. $20 if on the guestlist before midnight.
Guestlist: Submit guestlists to http://www.urbanagent.com.au/guestlist.html – Do mention if it is your birthday and they may be able reserve some seating etc.
Inside:  A main bar dance area to hold 100 or so people with DJ elevated a metre or so above the floor. 2 square podiums on the side to hold 2 or 3 people each. Central circular bar. Second bar at the back to primarily serve the back outdoor courtyard. The DJ here is also on an elevated platform about half a metre up. The courtyard holds 2 or 300 people. There is also a smaller room to hold metal tables and chairs for the birthdays.
Cloak Room: $4 per item I think. I didn’t utilize it tonight. I left my bag on the dancefloor and came back half an hour later to find it missing. Where was it!? I handed in a lost property form, and I only just picked it up the Monday after from the Brooklyn Hotel – someone luckily handed it in.
Bar: Advertised as $3.50 per shot based drink before midnight (scotch, bourbon, vodka, gin, rum).
Music: Modern RnB in the main room, with house mashups. Outside was pretty much commercial house all night, but at a lower volume so people could chat. It wasn’t as quiet as last time, thank goodness, but it wasn’t loud enough to warrant the house music fans to dance vigorously.
Crowd: Dominantly Asian
Entertainment: Podium dancers. I can’t remember if there was an MC tonight, but I don’t think so – correct me otherwise. Also the ‘Luxy girls’ (Apparently 4 girls from Taiwan who are great with pole dancing) appeared for a photo shoot as promotion for their club appearances for the upcoming Easter Long weekend. They didn’t perform tonight though.
Food: BBQ out back, with sausages, kebab sticks and Vietnamese ‘nem’ sticks for $5 each. It’s a monopoly here. The kebab sticks are burnt – It was his “first night” cooking, the promoter/chef explains to us. At least have a girl do it.
Atmosphere: Pretty busy inside. Outside was relaxed, and again a smokers paradise. It really wasn’t happening outside. All the action was inside the main room.

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View from the front of the DJ booth

View of Brooklyn's main room from the front.

Never in the history of my RnB clubbing career for 4 short years have I been bombarded with promotional material for the Grand Opening of this night. Facebook, email, posters, more facebook, more email, more posters. You would expect them to do door knocking as well. The previous event at V-Bar had finally closed and the promoters, Urban Agent, have had success on their 40/40 Saturday Nights at Brooklyn – “why not do a Friday one as well?” They think. It’s an ambitious launch, to replicate the experience of a Shanghai nightclub with waitresses and limo service to the venue from a pick up spot at world square. A friend wants to check it out, so a guestlist was organised, and I was keen to see how Brooklyn has changed since the new promoters took over. So here we go!

Shanghai Nights @ Brooklyn Hotel Sydney

Assessment Time: 10:30 – 3:00am
Website: http://www.urbanagent.com.au
Address: Cnr George and Grovenor Street, Sydney
Dress Code / Door Policy: Dress code applies. Collared shirt for guys. However casual would have gotten away with it tonight.
Entry Fee / Cover Charge: $25 Guestlist: Well well well.. this is a special point. One can usually send in a guestlist and get a $5 discount or more. Tonight, as we enter the club, the flat fee was $25, and ALL GUESTLISTS WERE CANCELLED. What the fuck! It was only 10:30. Well, apparently they were allowed to do it, because there were so many fucking people outside. They could have charged $30 or $40 and people would still have probably paid up. Total fucking rort.
Inside: A main bar dance area to hold 100 or so people with DJ elevated a metre or so above the floor. Central circular bar. Second bar at the back to primarily serve the back outdoor courtyard. The courtyard holds 2 or 300 people. A second DJ resides here as well.
Cloak Room: I can’t remember, but it was a reasonable price – $4 or something for an item.
Bar: I did not drink tonight, but they had $3.50 for shot based drinks until midnight. Much more reasonable than $17 vodka red bulls the last time I was here.
DJ: Unknown Music: RnB inside the main room. Mixed as a professional does – choruses only to keep the crowd going with the occasional commercial house song thrown in.
Crowd: Mostly if not all asian. The occasional white person and indian clubber were also represented tonight.
Entertainment: MC for the main room at night. Promoters giving out lanyards the entire night like hotcakes, I suspect it was because the lanyards had the old V-Bar “Amber” event printed on them, rendering these lanyards throwaway material. By the end of the night everybody including myself had two of these things. Head promoter is throwing out free T-shirts out to the crowd. Nice. There is also a free shuttle service from world square to Brooklyn, if you book ahead, but why World Square? My suspicion is partly to show all the people lining up ouside of Flow: “Hey, you guys going to Flow, do you get a stretch hummer? nope. we rule and you drool”. That is my conspiracy theory. (Promoters have since dropped the Stretch Hummer promotion). Later around midnight, a dancing chinese dragon came in, which had blinking lights and everything. That was pretty impressive, even though Chinese New Year was last month. Also being the grand opening night, confetti is sprayed everywhere amongst the crowd. It’s hard to not like and hate this place at the same time. To top it off, there’s also a BBQ out in the back. They’ve gone all out here.
Atmosphere: Packed like sardines inside, smokey in the back outside area. Inside the vibe was good, but still too packed for my liking. Keep reading for more details on my thoughts on this whole setup

Nom Nom Nom

Nom Nom BBQ

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Fame @ Arthouse : Saturday 7th November 2009

On November 7, 2009, in Arthouse Hotel, RnB, by James Tran

I’m here for a second birthday tonight (the 1st birthday earlier was at E11even nightclub) and I’ve been itching to check this place out, so here we go!

In the crowd at Arthouse

In the crowd at Arthouse

Fame @ Arthouse Hotel

Assessment Time: 1am – 4am
Website: http://www.urbanagent.com.au
Address: 275 Pitt St (Next to Hilton Hotel)
Dress Code: Casual. My pirate shirt was ok. I snuck the hat in separately then put it on after I got inside.
Entry Fee / Cover Charge: $20 or $25
Guestlist: Send to aj@urbanagent.com.au, for $5 off before 11:30. Free before 10:30, but fat chance that you will be the lucky 6 or 7 people to get in.
Inside: Promoted as House and RnB, but only one room was open tonight, the RnB room. False advertising by the promoters!!! FALSE! Girls at the cashier  claimed that the owners of Arthouse would not allow the house room to be open tonight.
Bar: One bar. Wait time around 5 minutes when we got in.
DJ: Typical RnB DJs playing tonight.
Music: RnB. No house/electro.
Crowd: Dominantly Asian. Young.
Entertainment: MC to keep the crowd going.
Atmosphere: Pretty busy, with just enough space to dance.

Fame @ Arthouse - 1am

Fame @ Arthouse - 1am

Video: YouTube Preview Image

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