Monthly Archives: September 2011

Avalon Singapore :: F1 afterparty :: Chemical Brothers :: Boy George :: Singapore’s new worst club

I remember watching the building going up and marveling at how cool it was – yes a casino, I don’t gamble much, but still an amazing building that has permanently altered the landscape of Singapore in a good way. Then the two glass pyramid looking things were constructed and we were all left wondering what they would be. At first I suspected a high-tech hawker center for one and the other would house all the mobile phone companies. Food and mobile phones dominate Singapore so it would only be fitting that to cap of the spectacle of the new casino – foreigners and locals alike could get the best hawker food and grab a mobile phone in the two coolest buildings in town.

Then the news hit – one building would house another, yes we need more, LV shop and the other would house two world famous clubs. I could care less about the LV shop but was mildly interested in a real international club hitting the Singapore scene. God knows the city needs it.

So when @groovemonkey mentioned that the Chemical Brothers were coming to town to play the new venue – we decided it was time to properly check out http://avalon.sg/

Could it be too much?

Far more than giving people what they want we want to be delivering what they will want, I hope to hear people say “I first heard that at Avalon”.

Reading a snippet like that from an interview with Steve Adelman one can assume that experiencing Avalon could be well – nothing short of amazing. So let me answer the interview question for Steve – yes it is too much. Too much pomp, circumstance, attitude, lousy service, smoke, and arrogance to probably last me a life time. Hell – if I get re-incarted I might just find that it is even too much for my second life as well.

So before I dig in, let me start with the good stuff.

  • The venue is amazing. I think the external part of the venue was designed without Avalon in mind but I will give this one to the Avalon crew cause they need every bit of positive news they can get at this point.
  • The internal design is super cool too but given the over abundance of cheap Thai smoke machines – it is hard to totally grok how amazing the place looks.  I suggest they run daytime tours with the lights on in hopes of maximizing the chances of making money.
  • The sound system sounds stunningly good but since all I heard was an iPod running some genius techo playlist it was tough for me to fully appreciate the capabilities of it.
  • The hiring of many international servers, female, wearing hot outfits is definitely different that most places in Singapore but it might be helpful if they were taught to smile, fake a slight bit of politeness and pull the stick out of their ass prior to coming to work.
  • The view looking out from the club is also amazing and the internal design clearly shows this off but once again the internal haze made it mostly mute after about an hour of the club being open.

Enough of the good. Let’s get to the not so good.

  • When one buys VIP tickets once expects some sort of treatment that the minions buying general tickets would not get. Maybe a special line, a free drink or at the very least a sticker that says VIP with a powerful enough glow to be seen through the internal micro-climate that produces pollution thicker than the haze on a bad day in Beijing. The door people/glorious ticket checkers also could not explain what the VIP tickets were for either. Nice.
  • Upon entering the club, pre-haze, we found out that the VIP tickets offered us access to a top floor balcony with good views and seating. Wait – the seating could only be used if one bought about 2000 SGD worth of booze. Okay. Can we stand here then, seats with a small drink rail, and order some booze? Sure. But once people come who buy bottles we have to move you cause you have not bought a bottle. Great. So the VIP tickets don’t really offer us anything more than standing in the hallowed area while those buying bottles get better service. Awesome.
  • We head to the bar to go singles on the booze and the bartender, nicest guy working in the place, offers us some F1 bottle specials. Perfect. Of course then he is interrupted by the manager wench, the one with the biggest stick, who informs him that one can only order a bottle if one is sitting in the areas that accommodate a bottle and to sit in those area one has to order a big huge bottle that cost an enormous amount of money. So in other words the specials don’t mean anything at all. Precisely.
  • Enough of the deplorable drinking issues – by the way when we ordered our three singles drinks, 65 SGD, I had to go through yet another hazing because I had the gall to pay with my credit card. Yes – we locals like to use credits cards and most places take every credit ever invented, but the upper bar in Avalon was setup for cash – my bad again. So I hard to endure dirty looks and the service guy having to go somewhere else to run the card. I felt bad for putting them out having to pay for my overpriced drinks with my AMEX.
  • Let’s get to the show stuff. The event used to be listed here – and this was the only place showing anything remotely looking like a schedule. It actually said the show was 9pm-2am. Given that the F1 was not over till after 9 and that linkin park was playing in the field – we figured the show wouldn’t get going to 11 or later. We decided to get there before 11 just in case seating/standing was a pain. The bar boy told us that some opening act wast around 12 and that the Chemical Brother was around 1:30am. Late but what can you do. Let’s just say that by 2am the club was so full of the fake smoke that even if you were standing on the DJ platform you still couldn’t see the DJ’s. There were no announcements, no lighting changes and zero visual cues as to who was spinning. For all we know there was no one spinning – just some music playing, some smoke smoking and the lights lighting.
  • By 2:30am we decided to give it up. Pack our VIP tickets, our booze card (oh wait they dont have booze cards and are somewhat confused as to how to explain the process for coming back to get your booze) and our inhaled smoked and head home.

Disappointed? Just slightly. Appalled? More than a little bit.

Avalon needs their over payed developers/management to get actually show up to the office and fix the place before the word of mouth kills it.

One could buy some booze at the 7, hang on the clarke quay bridge and have a similar experience but for a lot less money and attitude.

Anyone know if the chemical brothers actually played last night?