An Open Letter to Zouk
Behind the scenes at Zouk
Friday, I had the strange pleasure of gracing your door, though I did have some idea of what I might be in for. Moments after I posted the announcement that you were hosting Drake, not just for an after-party but a ticketed club performance, my Twitter feed received multiple replies warning me of no-shows, watered down bottles and terrible service. But I fight fair, and I like to see the circus myself. When I grew tired of navigating the hunt for Drake tickets, I settled on your club appearance.
Moments after stepping in line to enter, I overheard one of your "promoters" securing a deal with two teenagers -- who were potentially 18, though I have my doubts -- to gain entrance for the swinging deal of $60 and a promise of no ID check. You know the men I mean, right? The ones outside your club in all black, promising line jumps and VIP treatment? They are really classing up the experience from the start.
Upon entering, I did my usual glance around to find a ladies room, the dance floor and my bartender for the night. You do realize that the dance floor in your space is supposed to be downstairs, right? And the DJ booth in the center? This would allow your private tables to look down on the dancing crowds instead of just staring off to the small area on the right. In addition, if everyone was dancing instead of just staring at each other, the guys could de-puff their chests, and the ladies could drop the side-eye. It felt like I was one moment of eye contact away from a fight the entire time I was there. And I am a lover, sugar, not a fighter.
Oh, and Drake. Or rather, lack of Drake. This has happened before, yes? Most recently with Lil' Jon, to some Internet hoopla. At roughly 1:32 AM, you made an announcement that Drake wasn't feeling well -- the flu, I think? You encouraged us to get another drink, so we could "wish him well," but later you Tweeted that you were "so mad" at him. Admittedly, I am a little confused about your feelings, though you can certainly laugh your way to the bank. The crowd, and there was a large one, barely seemed upset by Drake's no-show and if you don't have to pay for that club appearance, score one for capitalism as you collect on those $25 and $50 tickets for entrance.
Additionally, great move to have a bus outside. I mean, it might have been Drake's tour bus, and you did escort some "entourage" in and out of the building, I saw that much. Maybe Drake got all the way in and then decided to call in sick? Between the fake entrance, the bus and Drake's Facebook post apologizing for bailing, I venture to guess it was staged, especially since there were rumors later in the night that he'd been at XTC Cabaret the whole time and was definitely feeling up to doing some damage at Northpark on Sunday. His tummy must have been better; he probably just needed a Sprite.
Still, Drake or no Drake, there are a few tweaks to the Zouk experience that could elevate the whole thing. For example, you should pay extra for some go-go dancers who indicate they are hot or tired with less frequency. And you know you live in the old Starck Club space, right? There is a legacy to protect, Zouk. Dallas has demanded better before, and may again at some point.
I don't expect a response. Your bar had lines, your club was packed and there is little reason from your perspective to do things differently. But if the dance floor was where it should be, and if the crowd could fall in love, and if those beautiful chandeliers made us all feel like we were in a movie instead of an underage school dance, I wonder if a young man like Drake would have wanted to perform in your club, or if I would have wanted to stay.