Sometimes it seems as though Sheikh Zayed Road splits New Dubai’s nightlife in half. It’s like trench warfare either side of the divide: while all the pretty party people are hitting Trilogy and over-indulging at N’Dulge, for some time now the come-as-you-are, jeans and T-shirt crew have been hanging in Barsha.
It started back in 2010 when Catwalk’s opening was followed shortly by Cuban bar Casa Latina’s overhaul as a club venue. Since then, Barsha has become a haven for the more obscure and leftfield music on offer in Dubai, sprouting numerous indie, bass and hip-hop nights.
While many of them appear to vanish as rapidly (and mysteriously) as they arrive, Deep Crates’ recent second birthday was a welcome reminder of the buoyancy of Dubai’s underground scene.
We’re not sure how snugly Club Silk fits into this climate. Launching in September with its flagrantly un-Barsha flagship club night Massive R&B, within a month that night had folded. Did the management misjudge the terrain? The club is now veering into housier territory on Fridays – boat party-monger Sunstroke has found a welcome new monthly home here – with Thursdays provisionally put aside for more eclectic electronic outings.
When we visited the club after midnight on a Friday, it was pleasantly busy, but far from rammed. The interior is certainly a high-heeled step up from those more used to Catwalk’s grit; there’s a door policy, entry charge and reserved tables. Inside, twirling strobes and glowing blue globes create a welcome retro feel, although modern white sofas clash with old-ish burgundy upholstery, and the two huge projectors feel as though they’d be better for showing the football than stoking a dancefloor crowd. Worryingly, two small dancers’ stages sit either side of the DJ booth; we guess these got plenty of use at the axed R&B night.
But despite a few design missteps, Silk’s large dancefloor and decent sound system offer a welcome platform for forward-thinking promoters. As well as Sunstroke, new monthly hip-hop/electro night Bounce has moved in (with the next event taking place on Friday November 16), and there’s even been a midweek live rock gig. If the management keep up such an open-minded music policy, Club Silk could yet evolve into another leftfield hangout that side of Sheikh Zayed Road.