Irish Times : What’s cooking in The Kitchen ? - U2 France
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Irish Times : What’s cooking in The Kitchen ?

dimanche 20 février 1994

Source : Irish Times

From The Irish Times :

What’s cooking in The Kitchen ? Dublin’s newest nightclub opens its doors on St Valentine’s night.

By ROBERT O’BYRNE

FASHION conscious interior designers insist that the room for the 1990s is the kitchen. If this is true, then the Clarence Hotel’s new nightclub in Dublin which just happens to be called The Kitchen should do very well indeed when it finally opens its doors to the paying public next week.

Of course, it helps that the building is jointly owned by the members of U2 and entrepreneur Harry Crosbie. Butthe club’s unveiling has been so frequently postponed over the past six months that onlookers have been left wondering exactly what’s cooking in this Kitchen. After months of work, the venue was used only once last October,for the wedding reception of singer Gavin Friday and Renege O’Reilly, who are old friends of U2. Then, to generalamazement, it closed again for a complete refurbishment which is being completed over the next few days by an armyof workmen. And as problems have been found in relation to access for the disabled, even more adjustments may haveto be made. The Kitchen’s manager, Nodd McDonagh, who originally hails from Scotland, explains : "I was onlyrecruited far into the project. We had a night for the staff and then the wedding and that showed up problems."

Architect Ross Cahill O’Brien, whose other credits include Restaurant Tosca (owned by Bono’s brother Norman Hewson) and the Taylor Gallery as well as the Loft Nightclub in Dun Laoghaire was brought in to redesign the interior, which has cost in the region of 300,000 to bring to its present state.

A fair proportion of this expenditure was absorbed by what Mr McDonagh describes as "the technical difficulties in working underground in an old building".

That, plus the necessity of minimising impact on the rest of the building, particularly the restaurant directly above, accounted for the delay : "If it were a stand alone unit, it would have taken six weeks, not four months."

Still, the eventual interior is extremely impressive, beginning with a curving lobby lined in leather panels which then runs down into the main bar, a mass of sinuous lines in which every effort has been made to avoid creating a corner.

THE bar’s counter is made of beech finished with layers of tongue oil, and there are clusters of seating around a seriesof stainless steel tables inset with luminous panels. The main dance floor is surrounded by a moat, its water lit to reflect rippling shapes complementing those being thrown by dancers. Entered through a swath of brown suedette, there’s also an octagonal inner sanctum with a vast central column around which is arranged refectory style seating.

This room holds another bar behind which can be found The Kitchen’s very own kitchen for rustling up late night snacks. The club’s only wall decoration a small mural of an Elizabethan child painted by Guggi, another old friend of Bono’s is also found here, but otherwise the honey coloured plaster is left unadorned.

All this will be officially on display for the first time next Monday, Valentine’s night, when doors open at 10 pm to just 350 invited guests. Who is to be numbered among this lucky few ? Well, Nodd McDonagh, who says this is the14th nightclub opening with which he has been associated, is quick to dampen some of the more extreme rumours circulating around Dublin over the past few weeks.

No Richard Gere and Cindy Crawford to begin with and, he personally regrets, no Bjork, since she is up for severalBrit Awards in London the following night. Still, The Kitchen’s guestlist "should give the Brits a run for their money", and the usual flotilla of supermodels who have kept company with U2 for the past couple of years will definitely be berthing in Dublin for the occasion.

TUESDAY will be a night for representatives of the music industry and related concerns, as well as members of the international media who have been following the club’s progress with keen interest. Then, on Wednesday, the first paying punters will be welcomed, their 3 entrance going some small way towards defraying The Kitchen’s costs. Admission will rise on subsequent nights to a top price of 8 but "we’ll try not to make you dig into your pockets for the last bit of fluff".

Thereafter, there’s to be no special guestlist to the 575 capacity space, no exclusive membership, no reserved enclosurefor those who like to think themselves better than the average clubber. Like every good kitchen, this one will be open to anyone with an appetite.

THE music policy should satisfy all tastes too, with DJ Paul Dakayne, who’s about to release his own single underthe pseudonym The Tin Man, putting together what Nodd McDonagh calls "The Kitchen Sound." Mr Dakayne haspreviously worked in such London nightclubs as Limelight, the Hippodrome and the Camden Palace but "we’re doing something in a Dublin style, not trying to give you a bit of London or New York".

"The fact that I’m using an English DJ," insists Mr McDonagh, "is because I don’t know enough Irish talent yet." Heshould quickly get to meet some over the coming weeks, as this venue becomes the latest Dublin nightclub to welcome the crowds.

They’ll discover that, along with it’s formidable sound and lighting systems, the Clarence’s basement has also been given highly effective air conditioning so there should be no need to get out because you can’t stand the heat of The Kitchen.

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