by Toffler



The Irony of clubbing at Mao, a club only in Shanghai

March 23, 2008, by TofflerN, category Knowledge and Experiences, Uncategorized

My Review of Mao
Some people raved about Mao, others said it was too pretentious and snobby.  Those conflicting statements had me intrigued and when my friend offered guestlist=free entrance, I jumped at the chance to go check out the club everyone in Shanghai is talking about.  Arriving at Mao on Saturday night, even with our name on the guestlist, it was only girls in free, guys still had to pay RMB50.  Normally girls pay RMB50 and guys RMB100, so we weren’t complaining.  Then as we strided past the door guard they handed us handcuffs with a card attached saying, “We are Pervert.”  What is that supposed to mean and what am I supposed to do with the handcuffs except be annoyed that I have to hold them in the club?

The decor and the layout were nothing to rave about.  We headed to the bar where my friend ordered juice and was shocked that her drink was RMB40 given that she didn’t get the drink coupon given to paid entrants.  After taking her drink order, preparing it, charging her, and giving her the change, the bartender still hadn’t taken the rest of our drink orders.  Just as I’d decided that he was useless, he remembered to take the rest of our drink orders and even better, forget to charge me for my drink.

Mao had a lot of white staff members, even for a club in Shanghai: bartenders, managers, DJ, even go-go dancers.  The trio of dancers were wearing either too much black leather or just too few clothes.  The shirtless guy had a dog collar and chain around his neck.  I assume they were meant to reinforce the theme.

The music was good, Euro dance, and by midnight the dancefloor was packed.  The crowd seemed slightly snobby but not even justifiably so given that, in general, they were not particularly good-looking, well-dressed, or (seemingly) monied.  Still, with free entrance, a free drink, and good dancing, I enjoyed it and I’d go again.

The use of the name Mao is the epitome of irony given that Mao Ze Dong was the antithesis of everything that club represents: openness, freedom, and capitalism.

What’s the deal with PSB guards at clubs?
What purpose do Public Security Bureau policemen serve at clubs?  If a fight breaks out, is one of them really going to stop it?  No, that’s what bouncers are for.  If someone starts an anti-communist rally in a club, is one guy really going to control it?  Doubtful, on multiple levels.  They are also clearly not there to prevent prostitution.  Then, why are they there?  It’s also curious that I only notice them at bars and clubs along Hengshan Road.

One Comment

  1. Steven |

    Re: your question about PSB policemen, especially on Hengshan lu. Having managed a restaurant on this street for many years it still annoys me that these guys walk aimlessly around….

    … they are paid for by the venue, and are a requirement for the various liscenses that you must acquire to operate a restaurant/bar. Think of them as human security cameras. They will not step in to stop a fight, and they will not arrest people. They will however report to the police what they saw happen. The reason they are all around Hengshan lu, is that it is part of the Xuhui district, which enforces these policemen, while the other areas of Shanghai with western nightlife (Jing an and Luwan) do not demand these guards be on duty.

So, what do you think ?