Sunday, January 18, 2009

Club Reports: Downtown

Your moderator returned to downtown Orlando last night for the first time in a few months for this previously scheduled night of club hopping to see what is currently going on down there and also to check out the several new clubs brought to my attention.

The festivities began at Mako's. This was not a planned stop since the music is 100% hip hop but a lovely young lady in a tartan microskirt and tall black boots would not hear of my protests and dragged me in for free lemondrop shots. And I got to watch another young lady who was hoisted upside down make a Shark Bowl drink. So I conceed Mako's is an entertaining stop.

Next came Independent Bar. The early stop was only to get the free armband to avoid the cover charge later for their Old Wave night. There was time for a drink though and they do make them strong here. More on I-Bar later.

Tabu did not warrant a stop despite a free pass. Saturday is pure hip hop and the music could be heard from the street. A side trip did bring me to Voyage, a new entry that supposedly plays House music. Unfortunatly it was a Saturday hip hop night here too and they wouldn't let me in for a tour without paying. I only saw about 10 people inside though. Not sure what happened to the House music so followup will be necessary here. Also stopped at a club called 23 which is upstairs at 23 W. Church Street. It was early here too and the music was not cranked up yet but the doorman did confirm that this was a House venue all the time. The wood booths and bar inside are beautiful but this seems to be more of a drinking establishment rather than a dance club; it would be a nice place to bring a date. There appeared to be a small dance floor.

On the way over to 23 the beautiful to my ears sound of Dance music poured out of the doorway of Vixen. Another one of those small and narrow venues, this too is geared for drinking and not dancing. There is a small DJ booth in the front and a small dance area just inside the door. There were several people dancing and the doorman said that people just dance whereever they're standing. He confirmed that DJ Jimmy Joslin does indeed spin there on Thursday nights. That could be interesting.....this place does play Mannequins style music.

Spent at least a couple hours in Antigua, definitely one of the most popular venues downtown. Drinks were 2 for 1 for guys, free for the ladies, so this is the place to get tanked up. The dance floor was absolutely mobbed; a lot of oldies 8TRAX style being played along with current Top 40 and just a tolerable amount of hip hop. It was hard to move and you pretty much had to dance in place. Good mix of ages too. Did you know it's difficult to text coherently if you're intoxicated and dancing?

Finally it was time to head back to I-Bar, just north of Tabu on Orange Avenue. This place caters to the goths of Orlando which makes the scene quite interesting to take in. They play Old Wave on Saturday nights, most of the songs with the original 80's videos. More strong drinks served and they stay open late to 3am. Remember to wear black if you'e coming here; pink hair extensions are optional.

Did not make it back to Bliss and I forgot to put SuiteB on my list. Senso had a long line so did not go there either but like its predecessor Zinc Bar, this is a House club too. A big concern for downtown Orlando is the 100% price increase in parking. The city lots which were $5 before are now $6 if you park before 10pm and then $10 after 10pm. I did see a number of private lots around the downtown still sporting $5 signs. But $10 to park could put some clubs out of business!

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