The Velvet Rope re-opens as Dubai
Management is eager to disassociate themselves from the Velvet Rope brand that had become so well known in headlines. When I tried to get a greenlight for our photographer to stop by, the club's attorney, Paul Gardner II, agreed to, but only if the name "Velvet Rope" didn't appear in the story.
We declined the offer.*
I still snuck in Saturday for the review in tomorrow's Live section. Here's the top:
Last Saturday, I went to Dubai. No, not the glitzy metropolis in the United Arab Emirates. But the club on 200 E. Redwood Street, which opened in late January under a new name after two years as the troubled Velvet Rope.
With the change, the owners hope to distance themselves from tarnished old name and associate themselves with the luxury that the word Dubai brings to mind.
But those might be too lofty aspirations.
If rebranding was all that a bad reputation needed, Hosni Mubarak might still be in power. And while in popular culture, Dubai might be linked to unlimited decadence, it's now a city burdened with a not-so-sexy $80 billion debt and a collapsed real estate market.
Dubai's owners might as well have called theirs Club Countrywide or Lehman Brothers VIP Lounge.
The club benefits from its still handsome historic location, and what seems to be improved security, but its insistence on passing itself off as an upscale club in a city that seems to be allergic to them raises doubts about its longevity.
The rest of the review is here.
Photo*: Colby Ware photographed the club from outside.