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.

Inside: Walking upstairs via the Northern entrance, you enter the triangular rear end of the bar, where you stand at a corner of it. The rear end here tonight accommodates for 9 reserved birthday areas on one wall, where a long lounge lines the wall. The rest of this area is spotted with high tables and stools upon wooden floorboards. In all this area would hold 150 or so people. The other half of the venue, on the far end is split into the enclosed bar are and open air dancefloor/DJ area. The bar area is simply a bar manned by 3 or 4 staff, with a big polished floorboard are presumably for indoor dancing. The DJ/dancefloor area is outside but is more or less a continuation of both the bar area and the rear end – more people choose to smoke here.
Cloak Room: Located on the way to the bathroom, it is $3 for 1 item and $5 for 2 items. Very good value.
Bar Prices / Line: Didn’t buy any drinks tonight.
Bathroom Facilities: Two working basins was good enough for me. Urinals and stalls as well. Throughout the night they were pretty clean, without any sign of someone vomiting their guts out. I like it.
Eviction Count: We saw one guy get kicked out, but he seemed to have accepted his fate rather than be forcefully pushed out.
DJs: Unknown, but there was roughly 2 or 3 DJ’s during our 2 hours here.
Music Style: Mostly contemporary RnB, Pop, House you hear on the radio, with some old school rnb (not hip hop) thrown in. The mixing was very erratic, with many excellent songs being cut off after only a verse. I understand if it happens a handful of times, but it happened way, way too many times.. enough for it to be noticed. On top of this, when you hear the song “coco jumbo” repeated twice, on top with the 5 or 6 other songs that were repeated, you have to wonder what is going on here. I can only imagine how many songs were repeated if we came here say at 11PM.
Crowd: A very mixed crowd tonight. Mostly Caucasians who were Euro or Aussie but they were probably 60-70%. There were also Indians, Maori, Asians, Africans… the lot. Ages vary from young all the way to folk in their 30’s and 40’s. Though later in the night after 1:15AM we became the only Asians in here.
Ratio: We did arrive a little late to the party, missing probably the peak of it all. The ratio was more guys than girls tonight, but despite that, most girls looked quite well.
Entertainment: MC Abe hosting, there were giveaways earlier in the night for best dressed, and canapes/champagne for lucky early people.
Atmosphere: Out of the entire venue there was only about 25-30% of floor space which was used for dancing. Theoretically everyone could have been dancing but, as most bar/clubs demonstrate,only a handful are gutsy enough to rock up for a jive. Tonight also the theme is devils and angels, so there are a few girls and guys with horns and wings to celebrate. The volume was loud enough for me to put on ear plugs. Right in the core of the floor there were a handful of folk who were here to dance the whole night away, and you have to applaud them for that. However for the rest of the crowd, they started to disappear after around 1:15am. It was a slow evacuation, as it was packed but not too packed- you could still stretch your arms out and still have room. Outside the immediate dancefloor it’s much more relaxed, with enough tables and stools for people to sit around for a chat. Cigarette smoke wise, I was expecting a lot of smoke to come my way but surprisingly not many in the crowd smoked or they were all along the fringe of the balcony, which was way better than a similar place, say pontoon bar next door, where the larger crowds result in an ever pervasive fog of cigarette smoke.
Video: Music Timeline
YouTube Preview Image

Kiwi Maori guy met us, we danced I think. He bought us a drink. So nice of him! So in return, I tried to do a Haka, which turned out to be probably an insult to all Maori’s out there. Thank god he just laughed at me instead. It was quite atrocious.

Two girls come to dance with us. My girl dances then gets distracted and goes back to her friends. That’s cool. whatever. Then a minute later comes back and then goes back. Whatever. Then she does it again for a third time. Man, weird, I can’t explain it. I don’t think i was doing anything wrong.

No hardcore dancing
Someone tried to breakdance but was stopped by security. A shame, since half the dancefloor was already empty.

Kicked out just before 3AM.

Final Thoughts & Recommendation
Come here early. Music could be mixed better with less repeating. It was quite tragic to hear multiple songs repeated. It’s a nice location and a safe place to go for a birthday. It would have been nice if the crowd hung around a bit longer but you can’t have it all.

Heaven Saturdays @ Helm Bar – 6.5/10

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