Sunday, March 4, 2012

Area, 2nd March

Did you know Area is a gay club? Actually we did, but thanks for checking. Repeatedly.

We'd finished our meal at Dans le Noir and headed into the night to Soho. It was 11:30 pm by this time, and our options of places to go, without paying a cover charge, were diminishing. After the obligatory wandering around and wasting even more time, we went to G-A-Y late. What a mistake that was. I was with one of my best friends from home, who is gay, and his boyfriend, and the cheesiness on offer in this place was even too much for them. Add to that an appalling sound system and some clientele who had seen better days (I hope), it didn't make for a happening place to be. After one drink we ditched and got a cab to Area.

Our cabbie was pretty friendly but hadn't heard of Area. We explained where it was and he told us it sounded like it was where 'all those gay bars were'. Yes, we nodded, smirking, chances are it was there! He dropped us at the start of this gay area (perhaps not wanting to spend too much time there) and we walked up to Area. Area is next door to/part of Fire, another club that I haven't yet been to. We were pretty sure we were in the right place when we saw the seven foot black guy replete with what looked like plastic orange flames on his head, massive spiral boobs and a gimp mask. We got in the queue which consisted of just us while the door staff made completely sure that we were aware we were about to enter a gay bar. They singled Stephen out particularly and asked him at least twice if he knew it was a gay place and if he was ok with it. I eventually had to show them the stamp on my hand from G-A-Y Late to prove to him we were cool with it! Considering the Vauxhall gay clubbing scene isn't exactly a place you can stumble on, we thought all this double checking was a little over the top.

Love a bit of podium action
And so we were in. Area is massive. There were three different rooms of music, two of which have a bar, plus an area at the back with a stained glass window, which was mostly empty apart from a couple of guys canoodling. Actually, this was the problem with the place - for such a large venue, there weren't enough people in it! My favourite room was the one playing house complete with live bongo drummer, but very few people were dancing in this one, which meant I sacrificed it in favour of the other rooms where the atmosphere was better. The second largest room was playing cheesyish commercial pop and rnb, and the third and largest room was playing straightforward house music. While the cheesy room started off as the most popular, it was the largest room which ended up having the most people in it. Well, it is where the podiums are and they're always a crowd-pleaser. We flitted in and out of the two bigger rooms for most of the night, though when the music in the second room started to get recycled and L-U-V Madonna came on for the second time, we spent the majority of the time in the third room. Towards the end of the night, they closed down the other rooms and shepherd you all into this one anyway.

I don't really mind whether a club is gay or straight as long as I like the music it is playing and it has a good atmosphere. I felt like Area had potential, but was just too empty. Maybe Saturday night it runs full strength. Music-wise, I was happy to dance but it didn't get right down into my stomach and make me want to jig with abandon. Considering it's so out of the way as well, I don't think I'll be heading back in a rush.

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I work as an editor in educational publishing by day, and then spend most of my spare time discovering interesting things to do in London, and taking people there with my own Meetup.