Liquid Gold & Neon Signs
Can Kensington’s latest VIP club prove itself to be worthy of the title?
Review by Izzy Ashton
The entrance to The Vaudeville Club sits subtly tucked away between two columned residential properties just behind Earl’s Court tube station. At the end of the road, we wondered for a moment whether we were in the wrong place. No gaudy club signs greeted us, nor could we see a line of well-dressed people snaking round the corner.
This is because Vaudeville is not a wander-in-off-the-street-for-a-dance kind of club. It is strictly guest list only and guests are told to wear their finest attire, which means of course, absolutely no trainers allowed. After driving down the length of the street, the red rope and black and red ‘V’ sign gave the secret away and we piled out of the car. As we were relatively early in arriving there was no need to queue and, after giving our names at the door, we were shepherded in, stamped and shown to our table.
Into the darkness we filed to find ourselves in a basement area, low-lit by bright blue lights and various neon worded signs. A bright pink ‘Chelsea Girls’ sign was a favourite and the site of many an ironic photo as the evening progressed. The walls were bare brick, which was somewhat at odds with the supposed glamour and cabaret reference that the club’s promotional video seemed to suggest. Several old-fashioned cabaret pictures on the walls and a few strips of elaborate wallpaper seemed to be all the outrageous performance we were going to see for the evening.
After meeting the senior staff at the club, we were shown to our table that was just off the dance floor, tucked away in its own corner between a group of high-heel wearing girls on one side and an incredibly un-excited looking group on the other. The Belvedere bucket that occupied our table stayed empty as we had a sneak peak of the rest of the club. With a maximum capacity of 300, it is not a particularly large space and so, having been offered a table in the roped-off VIP area, we chose to party with the masses by the dance floor.
As the club began to slowly fill, we were provided with some drinks and took to the dance floor to tunes from DJ CJ Beats, whose choice of songs couldn’t have been better. The club sells its music as predominantly hip-hop and R&B, everything from Beyoncé at her most sassy to Blackstreet’s ‘No Diggity’, with a few pop numbers thrown in for good measure. The music ensured that the atmosphere didn’t fall flat, as it could quite easily have done in a club that hasn’t quite found its feet yet.
After a glass of Liquid Gold Prosecco, served to us with a giant sparkler in tow, we were offered Belvedere vodka that made use of the enormous illuminated ice bucket at the table. Feeling emboldened by our drinks, we were led into the DJ booth to experience the club’s ultimate VIP table, which turned out to be a curved leather bench seat beneath a hazy, neon red V sign.
Although it was quite unique to see the DJ in action, and I did feel achingly cool sitting up behind him, I wouldn’t choose the table if I wanted to actually talk to those I was with, no matter how exclusive it is. The music was just too loud beneath the speakers – cue cries of but you’re in a club so duh – so conversations were had by shouting in each other’s ears or just pretending like we’d heard one another with a lot of smiling and nodding.
Vaudeville’s selling point is that it is an exclusive night-out, at which everyone feels like a VIP. We certainly did feel like members of the elite as the staff were attentive and great fun, if a little distracted at certain points.
Vaudeville has a way to go before it can boast of a certain je ne sais quoi to differentiate itself from the rest of the London club scene. It also has the additional problem of the residential nature of the area as clubs and homeowners don’t tend to go hand-in-hand.
But it has an incredibly hard-working and passionate team behind it and, considering it is a mere fledgling on the scene having only been open for three weekends, it has managed to create an exclusive VIP club and experience in an area that hasn’t had one before.