Strobe lights, multicoloured dance floors, an ever-moving, sweaty crowd — the word nightclub is synonymous with all this.
But ECR’s first nightclub, The Gatsby Lounge (to be launched on December 15), nestled in the 40-acre property of InterContinental Chennai Mahabalipuram Resort, thwarts all conventions to remain an intimate setting, though conceived as a lounge for its club members. Be it the minimal lighting, low-cushioned seating or the music: this space, located right above the reception, calls for a relaxing evening with drinks, bar eats and the odd dal makhani mac and cheese.
The interiors are sombre-lit, with small booths on the left. The bar, replete with high stools, takes up the opposite side. The space, a lounge area, transforms into a nightclub only on the weekends, post 7 pm.
A detachable indoor dance floor is testimony to the same — separate panels are assembled together to form the slight elevation once the bar is functional. At other times, the floor remains carpeted. Minimal lighting, directly above the dance floor, and on the corners, comes alive when the night thickens or when a performance is underway.
However, the outdoor setting is what is likely to lure the crowd. Fairy lights wound around trees, lend a soft glow. This luminescence is aided by yellow table lamps. Bottled fairy lights seal the deal: this space is ideal for dates.
Designed for a crowd that likes to lounge comfortably as they sip whisky, the outdoor area also allows the party crowd to lazily look up at the sky and contemplate life.
The lounge has a limited menu and executive chef Lawrence Amalraj plans to dole out a range that fuses multiple cuisines — mainly, Indian and Asian. For instance, take the curry urundai thokku peratal: a spicy lamb cutlet doused in a tangy tomato dressing, presented on a stick, on which is a lone farfalle. Another dish, features good old baingan bharta served on focaccia — as plain as it sounds, it tastes of comfort.
The drink menu comprises classics as well as a few signature cocktails, in addition to imported liquor, wine, and champagne. The ginger curry leaf martini is an unusual take that will satisfy the unapologetic South Indian in you. Their take on whisky sour, called frisky whisky, is an acidic (not in an overpowering way), zesty drink made from fresh orange extract, mint and whisky.
Though The Gatsby Lounge claims to be inspired by the “roaring ’20s in America”, the music and food do little to recreate that picture. Apart from live jazz performances over the weekend, the ambient music falls into the trap of popular numbers.
This, Arohi Tambe, director of marketing says, is an effort to cater to all markets. “For instance, some request fusion music, and not authentic jazz,” she says, adding that, in the weeks to come, they plan to host informal salsa sessions for the crowd, in collaboration with Delve studios.