It’s sad to admit that I am at the point in my life where dressing up, drinking and dancing the night away isn’t top of my weekend agenda. Sure, I still go out. There are the accidental boozy nights in dinky cocktail bars where my friends and I capitalize on happy, stupid and idiot hour. There are the after football celebration drinks that end up with you singing your heart out in a grotty little boozer with a load of fat blokes you’ve only just met. Then there are the pre-planned ticket bought gigs evenings where you throw on your converse or comfiest boots ready to rave on until the early hours. But the nights where you get together with your girls and sometimes guys, pull on your new purchases, those impossibly high heels, that dress and spend an hour and half perfecting your hair. The night’s where you’ve planned to go to a club and not because someone’s djing there but just to go. You know like you did when you were
ahem 16 just 18 and clubbing was still amazing! Well those nights are pretty few and far between.
In fact they’re so few and far between that when I met a friend for his birthday, on Brick Lane a couple of weeks ago, in my trainers and a t-shirt he actually asked me if I ever made an effort any more. Uhhh cheers mate. Seriously though it’s not about heels on Brick Lane – not with those cobbles!
So a couple of Saturdays ago when my boyfriend’s mate was turning the big 3.0. he arranged for one of those night’s out. Wives and girlfriends donned their best dresses and heels, the guys pulled on their smart shoes and shirts we headed over to Camden to party like it was, errr, 2002 at South African themed, club, bar and restaurant, Shaka Zulu.
Shaka Zulu is located in the middle of Camden’s stable market and below well known pan-asian restaurant Gilgamesh. We arrived outside at roughly 10pm and queued for about 10 minutes which was good going as it was freezing. We were welcomed past the red rope and swiftly headed down the escalator to da cluuub.
Once downstairs I couldn’t get over how big the place was. I was really impressed. I had a feeling it wouldn’t be just your average club with dark moody lighting, a lot of black and a few crystal chandeliers but I was blown away by the decor and the giant African Warrior that greets you as you make your way into the two level venue. Every wall you looked at was intricately designed – elephants, tribesmen, giraffes, wilderbeast – you name it. It looked amazing.
We made our way to the busy bar and this involved weaving through the restaurant too. This meant we could eye up a few dinners on route and I have to say the food looked as impressive as the décor. I would definitely think about going back to try out the restaurant although probably not on a Saturday night. It was just a bit busy and the couples eating looked a bit uncomfortable having loads of people stood boozing near them. I guess it just kind of kills the romance of a date. I think as a big group it would probably be a great dinner than dancing idea.
Drinks in hand we headed down another escalator to the club area of the venue – and onto our reserved table. Now having a ‘table’ screams west end pretension (and by that I mean all those amazing ‘members’ clubs that are so terribly hard to get into and also so terribly expensive – read: they’re generally all as bad as one another, anyone can get in if you know a promoter and you can drink for free if you don’t mind sharing a table with 100s of girls in fake Louboutins and body cons.) the tables are lined with plastic white champagne glasses and every bottle you order (because that’s the only way they serve drinks on the tables) comes with a side of sparkler. That said it’s great to have a base on your night out so a reserved table was, for me, a welcome relief.
Speaking of drinks, they aren’t very cheap but for a big group and a special occasion it’s probably worth pushing the boat out a little and the sharing cocktails work out at around £10-£15 a head so are fairly average in terms of cocktail prices. We ended up getting bottles of Gin and Vodka and with the amount you’re spending on those you’d expect the mixers to be free – but they’re £10 a jug and they weren’t particularly big. We all felt this was a bit crap as you can’t really drink the alcohol without them and it’s got to be a huge mark up from the club.
The music was a great eclectic selection. House and tech at the start and then a whole range of top ten hits as well as classic crowd pleasers. I danced like a fool, drank way too much, woke up with a horribly sore head the next day and a vague recollection of rapping the whole of House of Pain, Jump Around with one of the other girls. Haha. I really enjoyed myself and would definitely recommend going back with friends, probably more so my girls as I think the club/bar/restaurant caters for everyone in some way. You get the impressiveness of a London club with less of the pretentiousness they have over in the West End. The fact that it’s themed but in not in a tacky way really works too. And It’s well worth the hours and hours of effort to look your best because this place has spent a whole lot more to look theirs.
And you can see us gals and the guys looking our best below…