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New nightclub Europa appeals to older audience

51 Stuart St.

By Lynn Albers
Sports Editor

Lynn and Lisa's Excellent Adventure began with a trip to the newest dance club on the Boston party scene last Thursday when Lisa -- my friend from San Dimas, Calif. -- and I attended the grand opening press party at Europa. The club is located at 51 Stuart St. in the theater district of Boston just a few blocks from the Boylston T stop.

There are several things distinguish Europa from other popular dance clubs in Boston. First, it's located on the top two floors of a three story building, not a warehouse. Second, there was no wait to get in and the place was pleasantly packed. Third, there was a variety of music to appeal to all crowds. And fourth, the cover charge is $6 compared to $10 at Venus and drinks range in price from $3 to $6. Be aware though, if you intend to buy drinks with a credit card, there is a $50 minimum.

Upon entering, we were greeted by a couple of 6-foot-4-inch thugs in dark overcoats who promptly checked our ID's. Unfortunately, to the disappointment of Ted Miguel, another Tech club reviewer who wanted to attend, you must be 21 or older to be admitted to Europa. In addition to the age restriction, there is a dress code that specifies jackets for men and no athletic footwear of any kind. The combination of the above restrictions is successful in capturing an older crowd. One will neither be plagued by teenyboppers like the ones at Narcissus nor be pressed like a sardine on the dance floor next to some slobs like those at Venus de Milo. The club attracts a mature, sophisticated crowd that is more interested in having a good time than looking for the one-night stand; but then again, I'm not a mind reader.

After the initial shock of the huge bouncers, we ventured up the dimly lit stairs, wondering what was awaiting us. We entered the first floor and were greeted by the relaxed sounds of the Reggae band Hot, Like Fire, several conversations, and a champagne fountain. We also found ourselves in gridlock -- held up by the coat check line. Whoever designed this layout did not anticipate the long lines. Don't get discouraged, there is a second coat check room on the second floor. All coats checked are $1.25 each. You can share a hanger but it won't save you any money.

After wrestling our way through the line, we partook of the complimentary hors d'oeurves and beverages, which were both delicious and plentiful. Tables were interspersed around the room to accommodate all those who wanted to relax and enjoy the mellow sounds of the Reggae band. One could also sit beside windows, which was a refreshing change from the dungeon atmosphere at Venus. On Wednesdays and Saturdays this room features Reggae and Latino music. Jazz fans will prefer Thursdays while Top 40 fans will definitely like Fridays.

Pleased with everything so far, Lisa and I ventured further and found a quiet room with two pool tables, a foosball table, several video games, and pinball machines, all available at a cost. Continuing our exploration toward the back of the first floor we entered the piano bar room with a live pianist/vocalist. This area was a welcome retreat for the non-dancer and the hard of hearing.

Feeling good from the complimentary beverages, Lisa and I were ready to dance so we followed the sound of the bass up the stairs, past the bathroom, and into a spacious room with decorations much like those in the lounge on Fourth West in East Campus. An entire wall was covered with florescent paint in such a haphazard pattern that it merely looked like pointillism with the Eiffel Tower in one spot and the Statue of Liberty in another spot. A 15-year-old could have done a better job. The entire mural came complete with a black light. Yes, this was as cheesy as it sounds. The art work in the Fourth West lounge is far superior.

The dance floor was deceptively small with overflow room on the sides. I never had to apologize for elbowing someone in the back. The music was loud but not ear-crushing. The type of music depended on the DJ Wednesdays and Saturdays feature European DJs, Thursdays will have house and progressive dance music, and Fridays are for Top 40 lovers. I don't recommend making any music requests because either you won't hear them or, if the DJ decides to play your request, he'll cut it short.

There were bars in every room capable of accommodating more people than the club could hold. All employees were very polite and helpful. There were even several utility employees whose sole jobs were to accommodate the customer. I was distressed, though, at the fact that the male employees were clothed in T-shirts and pants while the female employees were required to wear skintight black bell-bottom pants and blouses tied around their waists. If this was an attempt to attract more men, it wasn't working, for on opening night the next day, three-quarters of the clientele were women.

You don't need to club hop any more. Europa provides everything. If you get tired of dancing, you can retreat downstairs to the live band room or the piano bar. If you start falling asleep from the mellow music, you can go back upstairs and dance. Europa offers a wide variety of entertainment for even the pickiest club-goer. On the whole, Lisa and I had a most excellent journey.