After repeated phone calls and an in-print whine about being turned away from new Bandra club Rehab, manager Umesh Madhwani finally added my name to his Sunday night guest list. As added insurance, I brought along four female friends. With glamorous nymphs about my person, we marched in. Madhwani welcomed us with a warm smile. We skipped by the expensive VIP tables for fear of becoming Greece and went past a languid group sitting below a neon sign that urged them to “Be Amazing”. At the far end of the club, we snapped a photo next to the dancing pole. Then, having exhausted the club’s possibilities, we wondered what to do next.
That’s when the nymphs turned on me. “And you made such a fuss over this place,” one grumbled. With a dozen odd patrons chatting demurely in groups, Rehab didn’t jibe with the El Dorado tales of a hot new club I had spun earlier to convince them to come along. And while Rehab has bold styling, the girls weren’t impressed by that either. Pointing to the kitsch multi coloured lighting and a studded wooden table ornamented with Gothic crosses, one described Rehab as a cross between Juhu’s Trilogy and a medieval fetish bar. “Money can’t buy class,” was their pronouncement.
Jest aside, perhaps Rehab will have its fans. Neon signs heavy with sexual innuendo and celebrity parody like, “Kiss me quick” and “Insane”, are hidden about the club, which make it fun to explore. Although small, the club also has the room and the vibe for dancing. And the staff – despite packing enough bouncers to handle security detail for the Prime Minister– are friendly. A tall South African girl with a stream of blonde hair was one of two foreign hostesses happy to chat. The club director also rose from his chair and chatted to a friend over a patch of floor labelled the G-spot. But then the barman ruined the illusion by making our Melon Armour (vodka, melon liqueur, fresh watermelon and cranberry uice) cocktail too sweet. And therein lies the problem. With a restricted door policy and top-end prices, Rehab didn’t give us that special surprise or memorable experience you expect.
Or maybe we were just blind to its magic. After all, having spent a bomb doing the place up, they must have designed it with someone in mind. So to solve this riddle, we have developed the following checklist of questions to help you decide whether Rehab is the club for you. Do you expect some form of S&M post drinks? Do you yearn to visit the lair of a Transylvanian count with a taste for kitsch? Do you think a good night out involves a pole? Do you dress fabulous like Lady Gaga? Answer yes to three or more questions and hurry down to make friends with Madhwani at Rehab. Answer no, and get your miserly behind back to Toto’s Garage.
Entry is by guest list – dress smart casual.
By Ben Leahy on March 02 2012 2.07pm