Thursday, January 18, 2018

PI Update: Island By Daylight

Let's visit Pleasure Island during the day to see what the clubs looked like in daylight. Crossing the No. 2 Bridge, you would be immediately greeted by the map of Downtown Disney surrounded by logos for the numerous nightclub venues!
BET Soundstage was the home of Hip Hop and R&B. After the sponsorship by Black Entertainment Television (BET) ended, BET was taken off the signs and it became just Soundstage Club. During the heyday of Hip Hop in the 90's, patrons faced long lines and a packed interior!
Motion was the last club to open and since its format was Top 40.  Since most of that genre was Hip Hop, it kind of put Soundstage out of business during the final couple of years. This was also home to line dances.

8TRAX was home to 70's Disco and in the later years, 80's hits. It was decorated with tons of 80's kitsch and there was nothing like entering the packed dance floor for the Bee Gees, Abba & more!
Of course my favorite club was Mannequins Dance Palace, home of the revolving dance floor and "techno" music as everyone used to call electronic music back then. The lighting and sound system was far ahead of anything else in town and this was in the era before lasers and laptop computers! It was always great fun watching first-time visitors approach the dance floor and realize it was spinning and then try to figure out how to get on it without falling!

 The multi-level Rock'N'Roll Beach Club was the home to a live band every night playing Rock hits. If you liked Rocker chicks, this was the place to find them!
Besides the 5 dance clubs, there was also 2 comedy clubs. Comedy Warehouse was home to live improv comedy shows offered during numerous performances every night. Since it involved audience participation, you never knew what might happen!
"Arrive a stranger, leave a little stranger" was the motto of Adventurers Club which is so difficult to describe.  It involved a cast of regular characters holding club meetings and interacting with patrons attending. Whoa to the uninitiated! We miss our Pleasure Island!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

This Weekend In Techno Town

Dating back to the early years of Dubstep going mainstream, a return visit from DJ Datsik (CDN) tomorrow night at House of Blues!  Dubstep / Heavy Bass.
Check out the new Model 1 mixer in use this Friday night at Vinyl Arts Bar. Resident DJ's Renzo Ruiz & Skylar will be using it along with guest DJ SpinnZinn (D). House.
Let the good times roll again at Peek Downtown as NLP DJ's Matrix and J-Dub return, this time with DJ Seth Vogt! It's been awhile!  Breaks.
He's known for his unique style but I still call it Dubstep. He had a successful night at the recent Electric Daisy Carnival - Orlando but he'll be much more up close and personal at Gilt on Saturday night!  Dubstep.
Vinyl Arts Bar celebrates its two year anniversary this Saturday night with DJ's in the main room and out back. You can see the lineup on the flyer above and it includes a lot of my favorites from Soundbar. House / Techno.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Mannequins Memories: Xellent Angels

Do you remember the Xellent Angels at Pleasure Island? They were often found taking pictures with patrons inside the lobby at Motion.
But they also did dance routines up on stage at Mannequins!
They weren't there for fun; they were brand representatives for Xellent Swiss Vodka, a brand distilled with pure Swiss glacier water!  Ahh the great memories!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Downtown Update: Demise Of The Speakeasy

With the recent closing of Herman's Loan Office, the hidden speakeasy trend seems to be drawing to a close in Orlando. Herman's had a sign above its entrance but it was located in an alley behind Church Street and thus the only business was from people actually looking for it.
Located on a side street in the Lake Eola district, the beautifully appointed Don't Tell Anyone had no sign whatsoever. And that's the inherent problem with the entire concept. If no one knows that it's there, how can it stay in business?
The Orlando Sentinel reported late last year that The Pharmacy filed for bankruptcy. We don't know the current status but as you can see in the comments, one of our readers reported that it reopened with new financial backing. Located in a shopping center along Sand Lake Road, this nondescript elevator door with the elevator call button is all there is to mark its secret location.
The Treehouse downtown briefly operated as a speakeasy but shortly after we took notice of it, they put a large sign outside rather than having the entrance remain hidden. As you've seen in our articles, there's always a good crowd here.
To our knowledge, Hanson's Shoe Repair has successfully operated as a true 1920's speakeasy with absolutely no signage outside.  There is a password requirement that they enforce and a hidden entrance inside another bar. To be successful in the long run a speakeasy has to gain patrons through word-of-mouth and this one seems to do that all quite well. Nearby is a new venue called Mather's that seems to also be doing well based on the line outside but we don't call it a true speakeasy because it has a sign.
At Disney Springs, the Mouse was reportedly going to offer a Peter Pan-themed underground speakeasy called the Neverland Tunnels (for lost boys) but instead it will open as Enzo's Hideway Tunnel Bar.  As you can see from the signage, it will most definitely not be hidden! And that's too bad because the amount of foot traffic here coupled with the Disney aura could have made something hidden here a great success.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Club Reports: Independent Bar, The Beacham, Elixir Orlando

Wall Street Plaza's got it right! Auburn beat Alabama & Georgia during the regular season and UCF beat Auburn in the Peach Bowl. UCF was the only undefeated team in college football. Thus, UCF is the National Champion!
Now let's move along and join this long line waiting to get into Independent Bar.
The mysterious DJ KC (USA) in the booth last night!
Club was crowded for the Saturday night format of 80's New Wave!
Spotted on the dance floor: Robin, Tracy & Julie
Spotted by the bar: Jenn & Craig
Always a great time at I-Bar!
Now over to The Beacham.
To say goodbye to DJ Richie Rich (USA) who has signed-on to a new gig in Miami.
First we lost him at House of Blues Service Industry Night and now we're losing him at The Beacham.
Big crowd on hand for his final night.
But some things will never change and you can't go wrong with Go Go girls!
Like I said!
DJ Richie Rich has been DJ'ing on Friday & Saturday nights at The Beacham for 9 years!
Hope to see him again sometime down in the 305!  Good luck RR!
Now over to Elixir Bar which has been doing House music on Saturday nights.
But with temps in the upper 40's last night, they had to bring the action indoors from the courtyard and we found DJ Andre Silva (USA) on the decks.
Nice crowd in the club.
Everyone here to see DJ Anthony Attalla (MEX/USA)!
Dance floor started seeing some activity as soon as he came on!
Spotted in VIP: Michelle, Jaime Anne, DJ Dose (USA) who had played earlier, and Elizabeth.
Great House music all night long!
Would have been great to have this outside but it just wasn't practical.
A good time was had by all!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Club Reports: M Bar, M Lounge, The Treehouse, Shots Orlando, Hanson's Shoe Repair, Celine, The Lodge, Saddle Up, Aero Bar, The Patio

Friday night in the city and beginning my night at M Bar & M Lounge.
M Bar is spacious and jammed with these vintage automobiles!
But only two bartenders and a crowded bar equaled no drink after waiting 20 minutes so I decided to head upstairs to M Lounge.
On the way out ran into Kristy, Nicole, Emily & Evah in the lobby. Little did I know at this juncture that I would be running into them again and again and again!
 Good crowd upstairs in M Lounge which is located on the rooftop of the garage.

No DJ but a musician was playing an electric violin and there is a spectacular view of Orlando's downtown skyline in the distance.
Now into The Treehouse!
First you climb the stairs and go up into the tree!
Always a great vibe in here; everyone is happy!
No DJ here either, just prerecorded music which last night was classic Hip Hop.
Of course the main attraction at The Treehouse is grabbing a drink and then chilling picnic style on the grass floor!
Sister to Shots Miami, Shots Orlando has been open for several months now.
DJ Daggett was in the booth playing Hip Hop.
Not a lot of dancing here but plenty of bar action.
And I unsurprisingly ran into Nicole, Emily, Evah & Kristy here too!
I guess there's a reason this place is called "Shots"!
 Second visit ever for Hanson's Shoe Repair, the speakeasy hidden in the attic above former bar NV which is now called Bauhaus.

In the early 20th century, this building actually did house a cobbler by that name!
None of the name brand liquors here; only specialty stuff!
There is a small interior room with a bar.
Or you can get your drink and come outside to this small area instead.
No escaping them, lol! You have to call earlier in the day to receive the password to get into Hanson's and apparently Nicole, Kristy, Emily & Evah knew that too!
Nice view of adjoining buildings from out on the patio!
Second visit to new club Celine which is located where Tier, Lyrica & Cairo once operated.
DJ Jay-R on the decks playing Hip Hop hits.
And the dance floor in the main room was beginning to see some action.
But the peeps want House music and that was being delivered up on the rooftop patio by DJ Horny Dave aka DJ K1KO.
It was absolutely packed out here!
The Lodge was not on my list last night.....
But when I went to say hello to doorman Merv, there they were again!
DJ Mort in the booth playing 80's & 90's classic hits!
It was pretty jammed in here!
The large fireplace gives patrons the feeling that they're in an authentic hunting lodge.
As do the dead animals on the wall!
Lots of singing-along takes place here; everyone knows the words to the songs at The Lodge!
On to Saddle Up because by now you know I've got to have my dose of Country music every weekend. Not!
And DJ Vegas was doing just that!
Pretty damn crowded in here too!  Everywhere was like this downtown last night!
Country music and Line Dances and $1 Fireball shots at midnight!
I've been good all night but now I needed some EDM! On to Aero Bar!
Resident DJ's Cliff T & Robin delivering the good stuff!
Well whoa and behold, look who's in the DJ booth! I was no longer surprised!
Another roof top venue, you're literally "dancing with the stars" at Aero!
Hard to get a good picture in here but as you can see.....jammed!
Down below Aero is The Patio, the final stop of the night!
As I came down the stairs, I could see that The Patio was jammed too!
Top 40 hits keep the dance floor wall-to-wall!
With DJ Parry on the controls. And there they were again! Oh well, if you can't beat them, join them! Everywhere I went last night, a good time was had by all!