For Time Out, the ‘Jungo’ doesn’t hold much appeal beyond last-minute Christmas shopping. And even then, it’s an only-if-we’re-desperate fallback plan. Weird then, that it’s the location for one of the city’s most hyped nightclub openings of the year, AND.
The owners, despite claiming they wanted the opening to fly under the radar, pushed an interesting PR campaign – a self-satirising press release with crank text message-style follow-ups – that piqued our interest immediately, and then we heard Paul Schell (Ruby Rabbit, De Nom) and Tim Kean (the man behind the roving and always unexpected LOST parties) were in charge, and so made an immediate mid-week visit to check out its form.
The club sits atop the four-level Eastern Hotel, and Wednesday nights are big – a hangover from the popularity of Wednesday nights at the Eastern we presume. Nothing much has changed for the venue’s layout, but the lads have done a great job with the interiors.
In the main room there are big, bright string sculptures, a magnet wall and a giant puzzle. One room looks like the inside of a submarine – all tough canvas, metal piping and seats made from waterbed bladders. And outside, in a large smoking area lined with old books, you’ll find Lego railings and an imposing overhead sculpture constructed from 100-or-so milk crates. The space is open late too, so you can have ciggies and chats well into the morning. Off to the side of that space there are a couple of karaoke rooms. The song selection isn’t great, but each has a stripper pole in the centre to kick the LOLs up a notch.
The crowd is pretty student-heavy. American Apparel nylon disco pants and balayage abounds, and the men wear seriously low cut singlets, so there’s a good chance you’ll catch a dude having a nip slip on the dance floor. And yes, the junior crowd can get a little tiring – we’re not the only ones thinking mid-week bangers are overkill, right? – but those skint little keen beans sure do keep drink prices down. The last time Time Out saw schooners going for a fiver at a nightclub must’ve been back in our high school days.
What we don’t miss from our early clubbing years, though, is those sloppy ‘party jams’ sets, and this, unfortunately, seems to be the music policy at AND. When clubbing, Time Out likes the sound crisp and our beats neat, and that electro remix of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ that we heard drop into the mix around 2.30am might just be the worst thing we’ve ever heard. It’s a shame, because the sound system is good. We’d love to see the genres refined and some more experienced DJs on the decks.
Interestingly, AND isn’t open on Friday nights, so if you’re 30 or so, you should save your visit for a Saturday. It’s an older crowd and you won’t be napping on your keyboard the next day. And with bottle service available in the karaoke booths and rumours of a Mexican bar opening above the club, it's a solid alternative to Marquee and the mega clubs of the Cross.