It is no exaggeration to say that when Pacha Ibiza Dubai opens its doors for the first time this weekend, it will be one of the country’s most anticipated new venue launches.
More than a year after it was announced that the iconic clubbing brand would be coming to the UAE, Pacha will finally open to the public on Friday – and we were given a sneak peek inside.
It is based in the Souk Madinat space formerly occupied by Trilogy – but if you were familiar with that long-running superclub you will find it completely transformed.
The circular central dance floor remains, thankfully, but earlier in the evening you can expect to see the space lined with dinner tables. While dancers strut on the floor and aerial artists float overhead, the kitchen will serve up a pan-Asian menu, offering the kind of dinner-and-a-show concept found at The Act.
When I popped in for a pre-opening night preview, there was an engaging series of short shows, carefully choreographed brief routines performed by a revolving collective of 10 performers swirling on a raised stage, jutting from platforms and descending daringly from the sky.
Impressive stuff for sure, but unlikely to raise the eyebrows of anyone familiar with the Ibiza venue’s hard-partying home. The room itself has been overhauled dramatically, mixing elements of Ibiza-esque whitewash with shiny metallic surfaces, and huge bubble-like columns rising to the ceiling.
A day earlier, the club’s general manager, Todd Lunger, took me on an exclusive tour, while pockets of the club’s 170 staff zipped around anxiously applying finishing touches ahead of the private launch.
“We’ve created a new idea of what Pacha can be,” explained the 32-year-old Las Vegas native.
“Pacha Ibiza is more go-go, which is great for nightclubs, but we’re developing Pacha in a new direction, exploring elements more suited for our clientele in Dubai.”
Most of the remaining ground floor is set aside for VIP tables, as is the upper balcony level, where a lounge-like concept spreads around a central shaft overlooking the stage. There are 52 VIP tables – about “a 50/50 split” with regular guests – typically starting from a minimum spend of Dh5,000 for six people.
The best tables overlooking the stage can command prices of upwards of Dh30,000, depending on the night, with big spenders also invited to use a VIP-only lift, bar and toilets.
The entertainment normally wraps up at about midnight on the weekends, after which the main room will be transformed into one of the three clubbing spaces. Todd explains this dance floor will be “more on the commercial side” of the music spectrum, with a range of new residents flown in from abroad, all overseen by entertainment director and Dubai mainstay Pierre Ravan.
More eclectic clubbers are likely to enjoy The Red Room. While silent on our preview, the theatrically decorated space in what used to be Trilogy’s Studio Room promises to offer a disco and nu-disco soundtrack. However, in winter months, it’s likely to be The Rooftop that attracts most party people, with a focus on the deep house for which the brand earned its reputation.
Another spot that will be familiar to Trilogy visitors, the roof’s unique selling point – views, space and air – remains unchanged, but some cosmetic improvements such as a new bar and DJ booth are welcome.
Mixing elements of a restaurant concept, live show, VIP lounge and a clubbing space with three distinct music policies – and with a huge capacity of close to 2,000 – Pacha Ibiza Dubai will clearly be a major player on the UAE nightlife scene.
While its heavy emphasis on VIPs, dining and acrobats may alienate some of the more serious music fans who counted themselves as Trilogy regulars, as an all-encompassing new show-stopper, Pacha is ticking an impressive array of boxes – and is very distinctly “Dubai”.
But as with any venue, it will really be the crowd who really decides what it wants from Pacha.
.Pacha Ibiza Dubai opens on Friday (November 7) with Dh150 as entry fee for opening night. It will be open for dinner from Tuesday to Saturday from 8pm, clubbing on Thursday and Friday only, call 04 567 0000 or visit www.pacha.ae