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The typical night out in Dublin costs about a quarter of your weekly pay packet and still most of us come away feeling hard done by.
Prices are inflated, service is brusque, and doormen are about as friendly as the Israeli Defence Forces. Meanwhile, the options are as limited. You could visit the haunts of the "loike totally random brigade" where the smell of fake tan and desperation (and that's just the men) lingers heavily in the air; otherwise, the best you'll get is chart music and cocktails, or a big-name DJ and a near neo-Nazi door policy. Thankfully, a coterie of club promoters has looked for the opportunity in the problem. Instead of bemoaning the sameness of the Dublin nightclub scene, they've created unique alternatives.
This new guard of club promoter is all about giving us more bang for our bucks. They've put people before profits and placed mischief at the top of the manifesto -- that and decent tunes, value and some quirky little extras.
Their events are egalitarian: there are no VIP areas and often they offer an open-decks policy.
They aren't scene-, set-, or sexual-persuasion-defined, and as for attire, you won't have some thick-necked, door-manning martinet commenting on your footwear. Well, unless you make an extra special effort.
Nights like these shine brightly in what is an otherwise bleak landscape of after-hours entertainment -- kudos to their founders.
Partie Monster @ rí-rá Roll up for the circus of oddities, freaks and vaudeville acts that is Partie Monster. Inspired by the book about the club-kid movement of the 80s, this Friday club night attracts a lunatic fringe of repressed creativos, polysexuals and manglers.
Rouge, an actress/dancer by day, started Partie Monster when she became disenchanted by the "same old, same old" nightclub scene in Dublin. Guests at Partie Monster can sip on Pottie Monster cocktails (yes, a drink in a child's potty) and get their make-up done on-site by Bella a Go Go (€5). The music ("dark, sleazy electro go-go and guilty pleasures") comes courtesy of Rouge's partner, Marquis D'Alton, and there are ad-hoc stage shows by the likes of performance artist, Rickie Roulette.
"It's childish and immature, but fun," Rouge says. "No one takes themselves too seriously."
The next Partie Monster is on July 17th, when they'll be staging a black and white ball and performing a waltz en masse to classical music. For more, see www.rira.ie
Evolution of the Ciaran Crawford Action Figure Doll art and food fusion events @ ukiyo Evolution of the Ciaran Crawford Action Figure Doll is best described as a high concept, underground gourmet tasting evening that combines literature, art and a love of Roald Dahl.
The event is run by a triumvirate of eccentrics: chef Ciaran Crawford, writer Dylan Stott and artist John Ross Rist, who started staging the events to launch their avant garde cookbook of the same name.
"Our guests come to our event as a theatre-goer would," explains Stott, who also reads a short story between each course.
On a typical night, diners can expect six-courses (a snip at €30), with endlessly inventive dishes such as Bucktapus Carpetbag Steak with Diakon Radish, Lentils and Truffle Oil and Red Pepper & Vodka Sorbet, Chili Syrup & Popping Candy. Beats a soggy burger, anyway ...
Rist's art is also on exhibit. Visitors to ECCAFD have to get their hands on a Dahl-inspired 'Golden Ticket' first, which can be bought from Ukiyo, or directly from ECCAFD, www.eccafd.com
Some Like it Deep @ the sycamore club It's the afternoon after the night before. The party has dispersed, wineglasses have become ashtrays and you're considering drinking that bottle of dessert vino -- only you can't find the corkscrew. Besides, there's some creep in the kitchen who no one knows ... At times like this we genuflect at the feet of the founders of Some Like It Deep, the rooftop dance club in the Sycamore Club on Sunday afternoons.
The club attracts a motley crew of all-night partiers and early Sunday starters, with DJs playing deep house and funky techno from 1pm 'til 9pm.
The promoters warn that "messy heads" will not be allowed entry -- we're assuming that means arrive with basic motor skills and all your clothes on. Entry is a modest €5.
In a city that shuts up shop at 2.30am at the weekends, perhaps more Dublin promoters should be exploring the daytime clubbing model?
Some Like It Deep, The Sycamore Club, Temple Bar (next to The Purty Kitchen)
SoundCheck @ spy You've gotta love a club night which models its marketing campaign on a leading German supermarket's ubiquitous discount offers. "Und shitloaden funmuzik" promises the flyers for SoundCheck, and they duly deliver.
Established by Una Mullally and Sarah Fox, SoundCheck is all about the angles.
While most nightclubs give you no more than a stamp on your wrist, this pair have wowed their guests with magic shows, make-your-own T-shirt nights and live hip-hop sessions.
There's also a free cupcake buffet, two-for-one cocktail deals and a "democratic music policy". "We wanted to smash that whole DJ elitism thing," explains Mullally. "We generally have a resident DJ, a band or two, a blogger or someone like that and a few random heads down to DJ."
Bands like Fight Like Apes and Delorentos are regulars, and visitors have included Sigur Rós and Ladyhawke -- neatly upping the cool quotient of a club that is already recognised as one of Dublin's best indie nights.
SoundCheck, every Thursday at SPY. 7,30pm 'til late. Free in before 11pm, €5 after
Big Time @ the bernard shaw Big Time is a make-and-do music night for those who want to indulge their inner child. Set to a soundtrack of funk, soul and "the Studio 1 back catalogue", guests can get involved in all sorts of creative adventures.
There's colouring-in competitions, YouTube nights and hat parties. They have staged a Magnificently Cheap Art Night (original works were on sale for €20 and under). Tonight they are playing host to Ringo Music Bingo -- a bingo game with a music trivia twist.
Add decent drink deals, a happy-go-lucky crowd and no entrance fee, and you have a winner.
Big Time, from 8pm @ The Bernard Shaw on Thursdays
Climaxxx @ the south william Run by DJ/promoter/model/blogger/philanthropist Chewy, this once-monthly night features music from the Balkans, Brazil and other new-world rave spots. Last Saturday of the month. climaxxxblog.blogspot.com HQ