It’s the club’s first Friday night, and we’re pumped for a good night. Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk is blaring. As we approach the dance floor, we are greeted by an unexpected sight: it’s empty. Two middle-aged women sit at a booth without any booze. At the bar, four corporate types stare into space. We check our watches. It’s 12.30am. Say hello to three-week-old Rakes, a “Las Vegas-style” club created by the group behind cocktail bar House of Dandy. By Las Vegas-style, the owners mean the club is created for high rollers. While per glass pours are available at the bar, the club specialises in champagne bottle service where you can reserve a table, get your hands on luxury bubbly brands and let the staff tend to your every need. Other than that, the joint also boasts local and international dancers who we’re told are not like the sleazy exotic dancers at other clubs. Rather, they boast better choreography and a theatrical flourish.
THE LOOK AND VIBE: Sadly, there is no sign of any dancing tonight. The “experience tunnel”, where four floor-to-ceiling rooms are supposed to house exotic dancers, is devoid of revelry. The performances are cancelled today because the owners felt they were “not up to standard yet”. So zero gyrating in the tunnel or on the platforms at the DJ’s podium.
We do, however, get to see the much-hyped about champagne room. It isn’t much of a spectacle — behind the glass walls are just shelves of champagne bottles from various luxury brands. It is, however, the first of its kind in Singapore, says Rakes. Cool fact: the room stores about 1,100 bottles of champagne, all chilled at the right temperature so when you order a bottle, it is ready for you to pop open and guzzle right away.
Another first of its kind in Singapore: Asia’s longest LED screen that lines the walls and ceiling of the club. Designed by a world-renowned lighting designer, the interactive lighting system changes with the music. Headlining Rakes’ DJ line-up is entertainment director, Patrick Oliver, formerly of Pangaea. Expect hip-hop/R&B on Wednesdays, house music on Saturdays and as we find out, a mish-mash of everything on Fridays.
THE DRINKS: While you can head to the bar for a simple house pour from $16 a glass, champagne is available only by the bottle. To understand why an entry-level champagne here is a Moët & Chandon Imperial ($190 a bottle), you must know what an “Ace of Spades” is. The term is commonly used in rap lyrics to refer to luxury champagne brand Armand de Brignac and the brand’s 30L bottle, also known as the Brut Gold Midas (equivalent to 40 regular-sized bottles), costs a whopping $220,000 to $240,000 each here.
Bought over and endorsed by rapper Jay Z (above) as the ultimate party bottle, it is the world’s largest champagne bottle. It’s incredibly rare and has never been purchased in Singapore before. Condo down payment for some, just another Friday night for (very few) others. Sitting at the empty club, we try to imagine what the place would be like if it was filled with beautiful people, bottles of bubbly lit with sparklers floating through the room, and dancers working it on the platforms. It would’ve been cool… we’re guessing. At least according to the photos on the club’s Facebook page.
#B1-03/04, 30 Victoria St, CHIJMES, S187996. Tel: 6694-1702. Open Wed 10pm-4am; Fri & Sat 10pm-6am. Free entry for ladies (free-flow house pour from 10pm to 1am), $20 for men (includes one drink) on Wed. $30 (includes one drink) on Fri & Sat.