We have an unusual night life here in Adelaide, especially on a Saturday night… While some may say our night clubs are the same old thing every weekend, others will swear they’re the exact opposite, and are nothing but entrancing. To be honest, I feel it all comes down to the individual’s perspective. If you’re happy bumping into at least five people you know, then you’ll be A-okay. On the other hand, if the thought of having to wait longer than half an hour in line makes you quiver, then town on a Saturday night probably isn’t your thing. These are just some of the realities that come with living in one of Australia’s smaller cities. Hopefully the following article helps your decision of where to go you’ll be venturing out this Saturday night, and if you’re game enough, ask yourself if any of the following venues say something about you as a person, I dare you.
Please note: the following venues are not all Adelaide has to offer in terms of its night life, they have only been selected on account of the writer’s past experiences.
Located on North Terrace in the CBD, HQ (Head Quarters) is one of the largest and most notorious night clubs in Adelaide. Depending on who you’re talking to, the mere mention of its name will set off one of two reactions. The first, being pure joy and an exaggerated sense of excitement, and the second, being utter disgust. There are a number of reasons for this large divide in opinion. Some argue it’s because of the music HQ is known to play, which mainly consists of a mixture between house and EDM (electronic dance music). Others say it’s the crowd, who look much too young to be of a legal age and have egos that are excessively high. On average, the entrance fee is ranges from $20-$25, and the venue is able to hold up to 2,200 people, which has played host to many acclaimed national and international DJs, such as Will Sparks, MarLo, Dash Berlin and Cosmic Gate. If you’re googling these DJs right now, HQ’s probably not the place for you.
Bye Bye Birdie
Venturing around the corner from HQ, on the much quieter end of Adelaide’s infamous Hindley St., lives a little night club called Bye Bye Birdie. The word little is an important description here, especially when comparing its size to that of HQ. However, Bye Bye Birdie’s size is not a measure of its ambiance. If I had to choose its best feature, I’d say its music, which for the majority is a large mix of remixed pop and fast-paced RnB tunes. The turnout at Bye Bye Birdie however, is very hit-and-miss. There have been instances where I’ve gone and it’s swarming with people, and then a few weeks later, there’ll only be twelve people inside (which happen to be the exact twelve people who have come from the same 21st with me). Again a fee of $20 applies here, which some may argue is slightly overpriced.
Continuing your drunk stroll down Hindley St. will lead to your next pit stop, Mr Kims, (which happens to be one of my favourite clubs) and EC. The two clubs are hidden down an alleyway on Crippen Place just behind North Terrace, and although they share the same venue, they could not be more opposite in terms of their style, atmosphere and music. Not to mention the ques to line up. Let’s begin with upstairs – Mr Kims. It’s probably worth mentioning the whole level is decked out in Asian decor, such as large portraits of Asian women, Asian patterned-lanterns and a huge fish tank which catches your eye as soon as you walk in. The music consists of contemporary RnB, with some instances of old throwback hits. A tip for all the ladies: wearing comfortable heels is a necessity – you will be lining up, and it may be for over an hour – don’t say I didn’t warn you. The people here are quite decent and friendly, and there are hardly any punch-ons or drugged up morons (which is always a bonus).
As for the EC line, I’ve never had to wait longer than 20 minutes for entry. As soon as you reach the end of the stairs, it’s as if you’ve entered into another dimension. All lights are off except for the bright, white flashing ones coming from the dance floor, and the hard-style electro music will violently vibrate against your eardrums. After this sort of experience, you may follow in my footsteps and run back up the stairs to desperately get into Mr Kims, or you may happily stay and lose your sense of hearing. This leads me to my final friendly warning, folks: just because you’ve lined up and paid to enter EC doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed entry into Mr Kims – they’re two separate clubs people, which means double the entry fee of $20 and double the amount of time lining up, so choose wisely.
Red Square, or ‘Redssssss’, as it’s been dubbed over the years, is right in the heart of busy Hindley St. Somewhat similar to HQ, the feedback you hear about Red Square will either be option (a) – “yeah its f***king great man I LOVE IT”, or (b) – “that is the most foul place I’ve ever stepped foot in”. I can assure you though, the venue is packed every weekend, and despite the numerous reports of drug bust-ups, its accumulated some very loyal attendees since its opening. Although Reds is much smaller than HQ, its vibe is quite similar, which also applies to the music played, including EDM. A not-so pleasurable experience of mine however, was when I was confronted by drunk couples grinding on the dance floor, and almost tripping over my own feet as a result of the sticky alcoholic-covered floor. The demographic here generally ranges from late teens to mid twenties, just don’t go there thinking you’re going to meet a great conversationalist, Reds attendees only seem to be interested in two things: drinking and dancing. I’ve yet to return.
Casa Bla Bla
Congrats! Odds are, if you’ve visited Casa Bla Bla on Leigh St., you’re heading into the more mature side of life. A restaurant by day and sophisticated bar later in the night, Casa Bla Bla is bursting with originality. You’ll find a mix of people here, some with different nationalities (I met two German tourists one night, true story), styles (hipsters & fashionistas, for example) and personalities (you’ll get the cocky 30+ year olds who are hitting on everyone, as well as the reserved bystanders). Have I mentioned the music yet? Like a breath of fresh air, really! No top 40 hits or Ministry of Sound albums playing here, nope – authentic Latin tunes are the way to go, apparently. What you find on the dance floor, however, may be confronting. At times you’ll see people… dancing, with real co-ordinated dance moves too, not just side stepping and frantic head nodding, it’s really a rare sight for anyone under the age of 25. Ps. Free entry – enough said.
That’s it for my go-to places on a Saturday night in Adelaide. If you do happen to check one of the above venues out, just get blind drunk and forget what happened all together, at least you have my words of wisdom to fire up your memory again.