Drama Park Lane Club London

Drama Park Lane: 
Behind the velvet rope at London’s top celebrity hangout

Words: Florian Obkircher
Photography: Alex de Mora

How can you tell you’re at a top-flight club? Sei Moon, director of upscale London nightclub Drama Park Lane, is a man who knows – stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Usain Bolt and Rihanna pull all-nighters at his celebrity haunt
Club: Drama Park Lane, London
Drama Park Lane

35 Hertford St,
London, UK

1. Brand awareness

“What makes a really good club different from a merely good club? The merely good club will find you with huge billboards and advertising, but the really good club you have to seek out yourself.

High visibility doesn’t necessarily attract the best people, and you can’t have a great night out without good company. There’s no neon sign at the entrance to Drama Park Lane, which is the opposite of glamorous. And look at our entrance; you have to go through a car park to get into the club.

We learned this reserved approach to outward appearance from [legendary NYC club] Studio 54. They were one of the first ones who didn’t do much promotion of their club. It was word of mouth.”

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2. The best DJ line-ups

“Anyone can book a star DJ, especially big clubs with thousands of revellers. But you can tell a top club by the popularity of its DJs in relation to its capacity. In 2016, we had big names like Guy Gerber and Major Lazer [whose “Lean On” is the second most-streamed song on Spotify with around 900 million hits] for a crowd of 300.

That way, you know artists are enjoying their gigs at a given club. When Major Lazer’s Diplo played here, he spent the entire night – in between DJing – Snapchatting our performers. And having someone like him, who has seen pretty much everything, doing that speaks for itself.”

DJ Hennie V

DJ Hennie V is seen as the ‘President of Nightlife’ back home in Toronto, and his fans include Lady Gaga and Kid Rock

3. A top-notch sound system

“Don’t get too impressed by size: you can’t see a good sound system, you have to feel it. Test it on the dancefloor. What does the sound feel like? Do you have to roar in the ear of the person you’re dancing with? Both would be signs of poor sound.

We have a fully immersive Funktion-One sound system, and because of our L-shaped layout, we have more speakers than most clubs. What was important for us during its installation was that every point in the club would have top-end sound and you’d never hear any fluctuations.”

Club: Drama Park Lane, London

The DJ decks at DPL are often ambushed by stars. Usain Bolt once played hip-hop tracks here

4. Elements of surprise

“You work hard, stuck on your hamster wheel five days a week. What do you want on the weekend? You want to escape. You want to be surprised. And that’s exactly what a top club should offer.

It’s not unusual at Drama Park Lane for stars like Idris Elba to grab the microphone and start rapping. Or for Rita Ora to be dancing at the decks. Or for Usain Bolt to decide to storm the decks all of a sudden and play some hip-hop tunes. Why do they do it? It’s not because they’re bound by any contract. It’s because, just like all the other people in our club, they’re enjoying that anything-is-possible party moment.”

back room

The gilded back room of the club has been hired out by stars such as Drake. The price: £25,000 for the night

5. Length of the queue 

“No one wants to spend the night outside instead of on the dancefloor. That said, avoid any club without a queue. You wouldn’t eat in a restaurant with only one person inside, and it’s the same with a club. To cut a long story short, if there’s no queue, it’s a pretty clear sign that people don’t actually want to be at the venue.

My recommendation is that if you want to get into DPL, show up by 10.30 – half an hour before the doors open – as there’ll be 100-plus people in the queue by 11. The dress code is smart casual. If you look good, we’ll let you in.”

Club: Drama Park Lane, London

Dancing hours at this party paradise: 11pm to 3am, Thursday to Sunday  

6. Location

“In this fast-moving business, it’s often impossible to make conclusions about a club’s quality based on its history. Our club is quite young; it’s only been going for a year and a half. So what to do if you’re a man about town? Check out the club’s location, because a venue is usually a reflection of the area it’s in.

With regard to DPL, ours is the only club on Park Lane, the most expensive street on the Monopoly board. The club is right beside Hyde Park, in the basement of the London Hilton On Park Lane hotel. There’s not a lot more to be said about how exclusive DPL is.”

Drama Park Lane Club London

Hot dancers, plenty of celebs and hip-hop beats: London club Drama Park Lane has the recipe for success

7. Incredible interiors

“There’s no single look that marks out a top club. But one thing that all world-class clubs have in common is the idea of being a work in progress, so regulars feel they’re having a brand new experience every time. When you enter DPL, it’s almost like walking into a gallery.

Every three months, we invite an artist, such as British pop-art icon Ben Levy, to change the club’s look with installations, as we believe art has a very viable and important connection to hospitality. Also, we have the coolest bathrooms you will ever see. They were designed by an artist named Doodle Man. It’s a fully immersive toilet-art experience!”

Club: Drama Park Lane, London

On Fridays, the party has a hotel theme with the bar staff dressed as chefs and the dancers playing maids

8. Size and intimacy

“When people talk about top clubs, they often think of these massive venues in Ibiza that are full of thousands of people every night. But I believe that most millennials prefer to spend time in more intimate spaces than in these mass-market clubs.

At the end of the day, club size is also the reason why celebrities such as Drake and Andy Murray have made repeat visits to DPL. It’s cosy here, and they feel at home.”

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04 2017 The Red Bulletin

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