Absent-minded Russians

By Erik Nilsson (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-01-05 11:23

Those seeking a bit of Slavic-style nightlife in Beijing will find plenty of Russian revelry at Absent Nightclub.

The spacious stage area of this 2,000-square-metre establishment makes it the perfect place for a carousing night of cabaret.

Nightly shows begin at 10 pm with Vegas-esque performances by Russian and Latin American dancers who are somehow both overdressed and underdressed at the same time. In the blink of an eye, dancers seamlessly switch between Cuban Samba, interpretive dance, pole freaking and a Russian take on the musical "Chicago." The management says that the earlier part of each show takes into consideration the possible presence of tiny tikes, but warns that later it gets "a little sexier."

The dance routines are punctuated by shows by the house band, who perform pop songs in Chinese, English and Russian. At the end of the show, the house DJ beckons patrons to shake their stuff on the dance floor.

Those looking for a more peaceful perch can grab a sofa in the loft, where they can try Russian billiards which requires skillfully shooting larger balls into smaller pockets for 50 yuan per hour.

The downstairs "chill-out area" as the management calls it set back from the stage proffers a Western-style billiards table. In this quieter space, clubbers can chew the fat as well as a variety of Russian, Western and Chinese foodstuffs dished up by Russian chefs.

Compared to the other nightclubs in Beijing, Absent's dcor relies less on neon and better fits the ritz and glitz category.

Beers range from 28 to 30 yuan, and cocktails run from 36-68. A variety of vodka is available for 10-22 yuan a shot.

Proffering everything a Slavophile could crave in a nightclub, Absent's presence in the Beijing scene fills that nightclub niche that comes from Russia with love.

Time: 6pm-5am, daily
Location: 12 Huasheng Plaza, 12 Yabao Lu, Chaoyang District
Tel: 010-51206758


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