Last Friday night, 21 August, saw the official reopening of Malaysia’s most famous night club in KL, Zouk, after a RM38-million renovation.
Since the club last closed its doors in July, a one-month hiatus has included a change of location from Jalan Ampang to the seven-acre TREC entertainment facility on Jalan Tun Razak.
Now set against the backdrop of the Royal Selangor Golf Club, the new futuristic-looking Zouk Club offers eleven rooms, each with their own décor, music style (although EDM still features heavily) and type of punter.
Additions to the club’s offerings include the Zouk Cafe Bar and Beer Garden, more for post-work relaxing or ‘warm-up drinks’ rather than late night partying. Apex Lounge caters for indie and nu disco fans – something that was rarely offered at the old club – while Velvet Underground still has its more commercial sound.
Lovers of house, hip hop and EDM will still have a number of rooms to choose from, as the 6,574 sq ft, double-storey, Main Room, plus Phuture and Ace all play the club’s most popular genres, now through a Funktion-One sound system.
Velvet Underground and Phuture are brand names that have stayed with the club since the 1990s, at Zouk’s first venue in Singapore.
Although the sense of the club’s past hasn’t been lost, perhaps the coolest addition to the club is something rather different: to move from the Imperial Lounge to the Member’s Lounge below, VIP customers can take a slide down instead of the stairs!
Regional Creative Director Phillips Connor said of the new club’s design: “There’s such a variety of experiences at the new Zouk, including with lighting and special effects. The Main Room, the heart of the club, is a deep red colour so there is this passion and a deep connection to the music.
“In Phuture, the futuristic theme with a strong ice blue colour is about performance and a high-energy dance crowd, and the inspiration for Velvet Underground is a metallic theme with authentic materials and an intimate atmosphere.”
The Night Itself
The first impression you receive when arriving at the new Zouk is the sheer number of entrances, each one meandering round a corner or up some stairs to one of the many rooms. The first door on the left, just near the ticket office – the cover charge is RM55, regardless if you are a man or woman, local or foreigner – is the Main Room, which feels much more open than the old venue.
A central dance-floor is flanked by tables for drinking and relaxing, with the DJ booth at the far end. The new sound system is noticeable – although less so than the new air conditioning units – but the new laser display that beams out over the crowd from above the DJ is, I can safely say, one of the best of any club I’ve been to.
While Main Room plays pure house and EDM, Velvet Lounge is slightly more commercial – a more ‘singalong’ genre of music. It’s a less hectic scene and a more relaxed decor. Even more chilled out is Apex Lounge, which has wooden umbrella-style structures near the bar, not unlike the ‘Supertrees’ in the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore.
Presumably this room will get busier as the club continues to grow in popularity, but for now it was only half-full. Still, the floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over Kuala Lumpur are a welcome addition to the venue and this, plus the smaller crowd, represent a much-needed extra aspect to Zouk: the chance for a rest every so often!
Blink, Zouk’s resident DJ for 11 years – since the day the club first opened in Kuala Lumpur – played at the opening weekend and said: “It was so full of energy; you could feel the excitement of the people coming through onto the dance floor. We hope we can continue to see vibes like this every weekend!”
Long-standing fan Stephanie Elizabeth Koh said of the launch and the club’s legacy: “Nothing can compare to Zouk, it’s been the only club that everyone goes back to, despite all the other options. It feels like home!
“We made a lot of memories – good and bad! – in the old Zouk and I’m looking forward to moving on and making new memories in the new venue. They’ve managed to keep the overall look and feel of the old club but with a more modern decor. The layout is more sociable and the VIP area is much nicer now!”
The Next Big Things
The club’s upcoming calendar includes Los Angeles-based Brazilian DJ FTampa, who will play at the Main Room on 28 August, and American producer-duo Tritonal who will bring their trance and electro-house set to the same room the next night, 29 August.
Location of Zouk in KL
Opened: Friday, 21 August, 2015
Cover Charge: RM55
Address: 436, Jalan Tun Razak, 50400 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Telephone: +6016 332 3191
Note: This article was updated on Sunday, 30 August, to include the ‘Night Itself’ section and the Google map.
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