It’s no secret that Chi isn’t as busy as it once was. With the city’s shift south towards Dubai Marina, it’s not surprising that this once-great club has dropped off the radar of Dubai’s party people. But this old hand is certainly refusing to bow down without a fight, regularly launching new nights and hosting one-off international guests of note. However Chi’s latest move is perhaps its boldest to date.
When we heard the management were rebranding the garden area as a standalone venue called Domeland, with a new ‘colourful mystery-fantasy theme’, we didn’t know what to think. We have lots of happy associations with Chi, and while many of our memories are ‘colourful’, we’d struggle to say we’ve ever been swept off on a Peter Pan-style adventure.
Launching on Halloween, Chi couldn’t have picked a better date to showcase its frankly bizarre European-inspired Domeland concept. Among the assembled mass of garishly garbed devils, demons and witches, the wacky new collection of castle spires, play houses and painted wooden blocks formed a startlingly appropriate backdrop. As thrown-together as most of the clubbers’ costumes, it simply seemed Chi’s regular garden had put on new clothes for the evening.
What’s worrying is that the new façades and fairground chic are here to stay, despite the fact that on any other night of the year the new look is likely to feel a little ridiculous. We can’t wait for the clash of themes when American heavy metal band Circle II Circle drop by on Friday November 30 (see our feature on page 97). What on earth will they make of the faux-Disney castle above the bar?
We’re very fond of Chi, and we’re glad to see the venue’s management making steps to remain on the clubbers’ map. But with Domeland we have to say they’ve misfired. Somehow they’ve managed to take the club’s shabby-looking garden, and make it seem even more dated. It’s no big deal: the garden always had a rough-and- ready charm, and a good night at Chi is always more about the music and vibe than the decor. But Domeland really isn’t the deal-breaking overhaul we were hoping would recharge this Old Dubai gem.
Domeland by Chi