The Doors Nightclub Rises
A stalwart of the Johannesburg alternative scene since 1990, the Doors Nightclub rises again in its 3rd location. Rocking on forever!
Now I’m too young (Finally I’m not the old fogy for once) to have experienced the original Doors in Marshal St in Johannesburg proper. In 1998 they moved into the suburbs, and I spent much of my 2006-2012 years frolicking, angry hardcore frolicking because its a rock / metal / punk venue of course, in this location. While the South African alternative scene isn’t the biggest, or most united, Doors was a place for all the sub genres to jam together. dancing and cheap beer for all.
It was a sad day for the community in August 2015 when the Doors closed down. Though many would argue the vibe of the place had been dwindling, and this might be more a fizzle out than a death. Still The Doors Had been the place to go for at least 2 generations of alternative kids, in a town not heavily catering to them. In fact the small hiatus, and relaunch in a new venue may just be the boost to reinvigorate the old legend.
Like most, I took the initial rumours of a reopening with much scepticism. It seemed too good to be true, and mostly just assumed it was another one of the occasional special events hosted at a random venue under the brand. But no. I was pleasantly proved wrong as a venue was indeed confirmed, and a date set.
I can tell you as the grand event approached I was giddier than a 12 year old girl at a Bieber concert, and then some. The new venue is in the industrial heart of Randburg. While being a bit of a drive for those, like me, situated around the old location, it is an up and coming area, and one near the hub of band activity these days. Now on to the venue itself.
The second venue was hard to beat, an old cinema renovated into a dance floor in front of tierd bars and rest areas, all behind a larger bar and socialising space, under the open roof for fresh air / smoking (So half of us went up there for good air, and the other half for bad air -ed). All the walls of the interior were painted with murals of various rock legends, and the entrance way and side pub had their own share of epic artwork. The new location, while clean and modern, does somewhat lack the epic look of the previous one. Another thing is the outside part here is right at the entrance, leading to some congestion between new arrivals and those needing a breather.
Most people will say “it’s not all about looks, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.” So what is on the inside ? Lots of people, lots and lots of people. For an opening night The Doors was truly blessed. The turnout was incredible, I’d say the place has no worries about sustaining itself in the immediate future. The downside to that was the bars being overloaded with long wait times, and the combined body heat rendered the ambient temperature of the dance floor more scorching than Satan’s anus on taco night. The hard tiled floor did make the dancing harder on the legs than the old places much spongier wooden floor, something I wouldn’t have even thought about normally.Now before the owners drag me out for a lynching, this is not all doom and gloom. Despite a few hiccups here and there, and who doesn’t have those on a first night of an event ?, the vibe was as good as any of the best nights at Doors could be. The bar did drag in a few extra recruits so later in the night it did flow way more smoothly, even if I did miss happy hour by the skin of my teeth during the initial rush. The playlist was amazing, with many classic tunes from the 2006 / 2007 era club, and the crowds were jamming.
While the distance makes it too expensive for me to go by uber, it will make it closer for many other people so its a balance. Luckily I’m one of those weird people that can jam quite happily on just one beer anyway. There is also a wooden stage comprising about half the dance-floor, so its a real survival of the fittest in the battle for the good dance spots.
To top things off champaign, CD’s and t-shirts were generously being tosed out to the crowd. If that isn’t classic Doors, I don’t know what is !
Overall, despite a few minor niggles here and there it was an amazing night all round. The legend is back baby, and I’ll definitely be going again. And so should all of you.
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