There’s a new venue coming to Dubai and it’s all very hush-hush. We don our dark glasses and best disguise and go on a mission to find out more.
It’s the best-kept, worst-kept secret in town. For months, those on the inside of the Dubai club scene have heard rumblings about entertainment group New Dawn opening Alpha, a new venue, somewhere in the city. Now, at last, Time Out can reveal all the details about your new favourite venue. But there’s a catch – the Alpha bods know that a little mystery can be a good thing, which is why our photographer was barred, on pain of… well, pain, from entering the club.
So while we can tell you all about the interior, you can’t see them until the club opens at the end of this week. Got your imagining cap on? Then let’s take a tour, courtesy of New Dawn CEO Alex Bracken and DJ/promoter Kristian Valdini.
Located at Le Meridien Dubai in Meridien Village, Alpha is an imposing beige marble building, decorated with faux-Roman pillars and statues. Stepping through the enormous wooden doors and past the lobby, we enter the main room, also constructed of beige marble, whose high ceilings and centrepiece dome look down on a circular dancefloor and a larger lounge area. But despite the impressive scale of the main room, the venue is surprisingly intimate – and we mean that in the true sense of ‘comfortably private‘, not the euphemistic sense of ‘teeny tiny’. One wall is taken up by a vast bar that should mean no hour-long queues for a drink. And the furniture? We’ll let Alex take the reins for this one: ‘We’ve got lots of bright oranges, purples and greens in Italian leather and velvet for a vibrant contrast with the marble surface,’ he says.
But as pretty as it is, why should Dubai care about yet another venue? Alex is the first to leap in: ‘This is the first night in Dubai that is really run by entertainment people...the main priority is the clubbing experience.’ ‘Yeah,’ adds Kristian, ‘it’s by clubbers, for clubbers.’ Which sounds like a press release, until you discover that Alex, Kristian and the rest of the team have gone in like kids in a sweet shop, fixing all of the problems that they’ve found in other clubs over the years, from angling the decks for easier mixing right up to installing the best sound system money can buy.
But that took some work: ‘The Funktion One sound system isn’t something you can just buy,’ explains Kristian, ‘Funktion One want to be able to ensure that you’ll get best sound from the equipment.’ To that end, they brought in Dr Tikendra Singh, an acoustic expert, to advise on how to get the best performance. What does this mean for clubbers? ‘It comes down to clarity of the sound and sound pressure levels,’ says Kristian enthusiastically, ‘if you have a very high sound pressure level it means the sound is more compact and more clear, so you can listen to it at lower volumes, which means a good night that won’t make your ears ring.’ ‘It’s the same system they use in Space in Ibiza,’ adds Alex. ‘You can talk to your friends normally, yet if you shift your concentration to the music, it’s perfectly powerful and clear.’
That means nothing without decent music, so what will Alpha’s clientele be listening to? Thursday night animals will have the thrice-monthly Cognito events, headed by Mr Mr, which will host local deep, prog and tech house DJs, with at least one international guest per month. Then every three weeks will see Incognito, a one-off featuring one big established name in any genre, from breakbeat to jazz to drum ’n’ bass.
Meanwhile, MoJo on Fridays, run by Kristian himself, will begin with a late brunch, accompanied by chilled DJs and acoustic sets that progresses into soulful house, ending with an international DJ or notable local.
Last – but not least – there will be See You Next Tuesday, held every, er, Tuesday by resident Da:Funct, and featuring the most eclectic playlist in the city, from nu-rave to drum’n’ bass, via breakbeat, soul, indie, house and more. And each month will feature two special nights, one with big-name badboys like Simian Mobile Disco and one with genre-hopping turntablists.
And we haven’t even mentioned the VIP rooms with their interactive video screens, or the Lush Radio studios that will be used for live radio broadcasts, or… ah, you’ll just have to take a look yourself!