Already forced to undergo a name change, the apparently pioneering, but confusing “secret” venue, The Hobo Club, promised to be something altogether different, but ends up being worse than most.
Launched simply as Hobo, a speakeasy bar hidden away in a car park, just imagine if they’d stuck to their guns – “for the edgiest creative communities”, “DJ that plays from vinyl only”, “auspicious black gateway” – we might just have a hidden gem worthy of the title.
Alas not. A big sign manned by bouncers on the road behind Nassima Royal Hotel shatters the illusion instantly. From there, every corner turned leads to another sign – or staff member – guiding a typically glam Dubai crowd; it’s about as hard to find as the Burj Khalifa. But what really grates is the velvet rope, red carpet and fake flames at the actual entrance.
Inside, there is at least a club-like atmosphere, but the room itself is generic and cold. The bar is cobbled together with what appears to be reclaimed materials – not the cool kind. None of it belongs behind a velvet rope.
The Hobo Club has the same “no photo” policy of the iconic Soho House brand. If only they’d borrowed plenty more besides.
The bottom line Mangled concept not brave enough to stick to its guns.