Bucharest city tales: Clubbing in Bucharest

Columnist Eleonore af Schaumburg-Lippe writes in her weekly column about life as an expat in Romania. This week she takes a look at clubbing in Bucharest.

Clubbing in Bucharest can be anything from flamboyant and extravagant to laid back and easy going. There are a lot of clubs, bars and pubs, plus a few fashionable venues in Bucharest, to which expats in Romania are almost certain to be introduced.

The trendiest venues in town when it comes to clubbing that I know of are Player Summer Club, Fratelli, Bamboo and Gaia.

There are spots to be cool and hang out, places to dress up and see and be seen among Bucharest’s high society and others that are great for simply dancing and having fun with friends.

The clubs can take those new to Romania by surprise. When I first arrived, clubbing was not really on my agenda, since I had not been much of a clubber in Denmark, but after I was introduced to the clubbing environment here in Bucharest, I was sold, and since then I must admit I’ve made up for lost time.

One of the first Clubs I was introduced to was Player Summer Club (5 Primo Nebiolo St., www.theplayer.ro). It is a huge club, and I really mean huge, the first time I went, I hardly paid any attention to the music, instead I gazed in astonishment at the scale of the place. It is partly open air and features huge Greek pillars dividing the open air rooms, a swimming pool in the middle, a long catwalk, where there are spectacular shows with people singing, dancing in iron cages, “spitting” fire, jugglers – a real circus. The club appeared to me to be around the same size as a village back home in Denmark. I would recommend going just to experience the atmosphere and it’s also a good place to bring foreign friends visiting Bucharest for the first time, since it probably appeals to a wide range of tastes.

Another club I was introduced to was Fratelli (1-3 Glodeni St., www.fratelli.ro), it is not huge when compared to Player Summer Club, but is by no means small. Laid out as one big room, the capacity is probably about a thousand. Most of the entertainment of the evening centers around the bar, where the bartenders show off their flair by throwing bottles through the air, setting drinks on fire or building up high pyramids of glasses to make a drink cascade. There is a big stage in the back of the room, where the DJ will scratch his records from a sort of pedestal. The club is in colder colors as I recall; white, silver, and therefore looks more sophisticated than Player Summer Club.

I like Fratelli, even if people have told me that this is the favorite place for “snobbish” fitze Romanians, who want to show off. There isn’t any dance floor and people don’t really dance, which always surprises me. But what I like about the place is that I find it cosy and the music is up to date, a good mix in the “menu” of the DJ – popular pop songs, soul and rap. Watching the bartenders do their thing is really entertaining, they put on an amazing Tom Cruise in Cocktail show, only updated with a lot of new tricks. This is the club to take a new business partner, although some people may not like it, since appearance is a big part of the place. Personally, I don’t judge, and it really depends who you bring or go with, so far I have never had a bad night there.

The third club,  Bamboo (50 Tuzla St., www.bambooclub.ro),  stands out from the two others in my mind by being a mix of both. This is also a huge club but not as big as Summer’s, its interior is grandiose, the colors are dark red, glitter and black. There are huge candelabras hanging down from the ceiling, and it reminds me of a lounge. The show that they present during an evening is, at least the times I have been there, showgirls dancing and not wearing much clothes, and the people seem a little bit more relaxed than at Fratelli. Whereas Fratelli is the place to show off a new dress or suit, this is a more relaxed club, where I would go for a great party, but where I can also talk with my friends at the sides of the club, where the music isn’t quite as loud.

My most recent discovery is Gaia (19 Tarmului St., www.gaiaboutiqueclub.ro). This is the smallest of the four clubs. Basically one room with a bar in the middle and to the left of the entrance a little stage, where 3-4 dancers dance all night long. This club is known for its theme parties, it can be Ghetto Chic, 80s, etc. The music is disco classics or rap music, depending on the theme of the evening. It’s a place where people dance and sing and let go, but they also take the themes seriously and dress up accordingly. Gaia is a great place to meet new people too, somehow it’s one of those places where it’s easy to strike up conversation with strangers.

So go and find your favorite place, and enjoy an evening out with friends, after a stressful week, clubbing in Bucharest can definitely be recommended.

By Eleonore af Schaumburg-Lippe

(photo source: Fratelli Studios website)

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