The night was supposed to be incredible. Instead, the enthusiasm you experienced while queueing outside your city’s new and exclusive nightclub suffered several blows. First, the bouncer interrogated you while scanning your ID. Then, the music turned out to be alternative or electronic – so you couldn’t flaunt your best moves. The worst part is that you are spending a premium for what has turned out to be a pretentious and uneventful night.
So instead, you resort to the old faithful: the cheaper, less exclusive, local nightclub. And despite its bad rep, your local club may actually be the unappreciated solution to a stressful week. Perhaps because it is the only place within your budget – no offense – or because it provokes a sense of nostalgia, this nightclub is the watering hole for locals and tourists alike.
So here’s a tribute to some of the world’s wildest local nightclubs, from Bratislava to Mexico City. What they lack in elegance, they make up for with a guaranteed fun night.
- Trafo, Bratislava’s local night club, houses Europe’s biggest collection of college students in Italian designer-wear. It is apparent to any onlooker that the cave-like bar situated in the center of the old town is the go-to hangout on a Friday night. The security is strict, making underage entrance uncommon. Even so, there is a lack of maturity when it comes to alcohol consumption. The Trafo shot, a syrupy green drink, pleads the 5th when questioned about its contents. Nevertheless, many of its victims dance wildly through the night before eventually kneeling before a porcelain god, offering up the contents of their stomachs in the early hours of the morning. Of course, no club is complete without total photographic documentation of the entire experience. Two photographers make their rounds with big flashlights and produce photos that, like the date you drunkenly picked up at the bar, look perfect on the night and terrible the morning after.
- Tryst. If only it was as easy for the income tax department to round up India’s top 1% as Tryst in Mumbai makes it seem. The nightclub, infamously loose on ID checks, is characterised both by the abundance of Gucci sneakers and as the meeting ground for Mumbai’s elite private school students and nostalgic alumni. Waiters, dressed grimly in all black, wave sparklers up and down to Drake’s latest album, trying desperately to recreate the vibe of much-revered New York clubs. Yet, there is another element to the job description – they must mix and provide each table with 2 bottles of the Tryst mystery beverage. Much like the potion of the Gauls, the pink or blue pungent juice gives Mumbai youths the superhuman strength to overcome the stifling heat and dance recklessly to the overplayed songs of last month’s “Top 50”. The dancing is a mix of Bollywood, Western moves, American hip hop and salsa, which perfectly symbolises the quintessential metro cultural identity of the young foreign-educated elites.
- Le Duplex. US-based apparel company Carhartt brands itself as utility-wear, unaware that its young Parisian clients exploit its functionality to trapeze up and down the labyrinth that is Le Duplex. At arms width from the Arc de Triomphe, this nightclub consists of three different rooms catering to a variety of music tastes. The hip-hop section is the social ground for the LA-inspired youth of the wealthy quartiers wearing Stan Smith sneakers and chanting A$AP Rocky lyrics with heavy French accents. For some strange reason, the liveliest Reggaeton section is characterised by an unusually large number of older, married men reliving their lost bachelorhood. The pop section is, as one would expect, full of loud music and lots of wild dancing – exemplifying the truism that the most basic is the most fun.
- Bar 27, a club in Mexico City, is famous for its dangerously cheap and delicious shots. An experimental visitor must try the local favorite gummy bear vodka shots or exemplary Liquida Cocaina, a (perfectly legal) drink that must be emptied on the bar counter and snorted. The Mirrey, literally translated to “my king”, is also a quintessential drink to try. As you dance, a scrawny man doused in hair gel, sporting Italian loafers, a wooden rosary and a provocatively unbuttoned pink shirt exposing a hairless chest, will backslap the bouncers and wink at the security to flash his superior position to all observers. The majority of the population inside will consist of “Papaloys” (or “papa lords” – a colloquial word for the arrogant urban youth) and 14-year-old girls soaked in makeup.
It’s easy to criticize your local club because of its drinks, its crowd, or because it’s a microcosm of a society you detest (but also revere). This aside, their praise is long overdue. So here’s to all of the good (yet unspeakable) nights spent at local night clubs all over the world!
An ardent traveler and avid reader, Diva Jain is a writer for the Travel Section of the Sundial Press. She was born and raised in Mumbai, India and is now a part of the Euro-American program at Sciences Po.
Cover photo by: welcometobratislava.eu