Clubbink een Moscow…

…must be hellish, if you take the club reviews of Moscow’s alternative newspaper, the eXile, at their word. Written with a cynicism probably fuelled by a toxic mixture of homesickness, culture shock and the fact that Communists (even recovering ones) have a Vaseline-slippery grasp on the basic concepts of “customer service” and “fun”, these reviews might make you see your cheesy Coors Light-postered local Friday-after-work “meet market” (or for that matter, San Francsico, a victim of its own war on nightlife) in a new light.

Each review is accompanied by charming “international airport style” graphics that denote ratings for important features of the club, including:

Icon: Beer mug. Beer prices…

Icon: Flathead (tough-looking pudgy-faced marine with flat-top haircut). …thug factor…

Icon: Fahkie (two stick figures doin' it doggie style). …the likeliness of your picking up…

Icon: Starvin' Ivan (man wearing one of those furry Russian hats). …and this special mark. The eXile folks say “This isn’t a rating factor, folks. Every club, bar, politician, and yes, newspaper, remains on the verge of collapse. When you see this stamped over a bar, it means ‘game over.'”

Here’s a snippet from the review for a bar called Alibi:

As if Alibi sucking dog dick wasn’t enough, they have a violently aggressive barman who overcharges because he’s bitter about the tvorog discharge his girlfriend emits every time she gets turned on. We could say more, but that would be like carpet-bombing a clan of cave-dwelling barbarians into oblivion and then taking any survivors prisoner and force feeding them Froot Loops until the roofs of their mouths are so raw and chapped from the granulated sugar and Yellow #5 that they have no choice but to become fags, just for the slight relief that a mouthful of hot manlove provides.

If you hadn’t noticed, it would appear that theeXile was written by former fratboys who’d probably be late-shift baristas or bitter night managers at Kinko’s if they weren’t living the genteel bohemian life in Moscow.

From a review for a place called “Doug and Marty’s”:

…Toward the end of a recent post-production Wednesday night binge, Krazy Kevin was approached by seemingly the only working girl in the place, and boned her free of charge. Apparently, standing around scowling disdainfully is still a valid pickup method in some circles…

…More or less affordable drinks and more or less affordable girls make this place the late-night establishment of choice for many a sauced man, woman, and child…

Jeers: Since 9/11, non-working-girl density seems to have dropped to near-zero levels. Cut-rate whores of very imaginable human and non-human fauna reminiscent of the Creature Cantina scene in Star Wars. Whores don’t give discounts, even in times of national crises. Dirty old whoring ex-pats provide a glimpse into your future…On weekends, some of those working girls have significantly inflated expectations as to their street value.

Readers who’ve never travelled outside North America (or who weren’t paying attention during Full Metal Jacket) may not know this fact: where there are American expatriates, there are hookers. It’s a sensible business move: your typical expat’s monthly car payment probably exceeds your typical Eastern Euro’s monthly paychque, and hooking is one of those businesses that you can get into using simple tools you probably have lying around at home.

The reviews tend to lead one to believe that many Moscow clubs lack those things that don’t even qualify as “the niceties”. For instance, from this review for Alibi:

THE place for anyone looking for an empty club with furniture bought wholesale from a fascist warehouse’s discount rack!

Here’s one from the review for Hungry Duck:

Toxic BO cloud remains even when the club is empty

Kitaisky Lyotchik could probably do with a new sound system:

Sound quality on par with a Brezhnev-era Elektronika 8-track.

And finally, this odd one, whic was on the list of the previous bar’s positive qualities:

Young waitresses with very few visible sores or bruises.

A quick read through the eXile should be enough warning that you should take its reviews with a grain of salt; they make no claim to or show any pretense of journalistic integrity, but damn, are they funny!

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