I was recently invited out by a friend to Abode - I didn't quite know what I was in for. I can now guarantee that you have never been to a club like this before.
Not for the faint of heart or the conservative, this alternative event will quite possibly change your life. That isn't an understatement or an attempt to draw interest by some internet reviewer. I genuinely doubt that anyone who walks through those doors for the first time, would ever be the same when they walk out of them. There is nothing like this place anywhere in Australia, at least not that I have heard of.
The club itself doesn't stand out from the neighbouring St Kilda Road buildings and, until the lights come on, most people wouldn't know it was there. I certainly didn't, and I drove past it for years. This is surprising as it is right next to one of the most well known and highly trafficked intersections in Melbourne- Carlisle St and St Kilda Road
Neo is held on the second weekend of the month, every month. It is specifically targeted towards a younger audience with the majority of patrons in their 20s to 30s.
The Facebook website describes Neo as 'truly a multi-fusion of underground and alternative cultures' and I believe this is a good reflection of what Neo has to offer. It is everything you'd imagine an 'alternative' night would be and also has it's own unique twist - gothic, punk, steam, sci-fi or any combination of different scenes a surprising element of fetish and casual kink. It's a little bit fantastic.
Just to clarify; when I say fetish and kink I am referring to the sexual side of life. This might frighten some people, and it can seem intimidating to those who aren't prepared for it- I wasn't sure quite what to expect when I went. I want to clearly point out that there is no sex in the club - it is strictly a play environment where uninhibited people may undertake "fun" activities within reason and feel liberated from societal judgement. And before you say "Oh My God that is outrageous", I propose that this is the same sort of thing as handcuffing your girlfriend to the bed, or putting a silk scarf over your husbands eyes, or nibbling their ear at the movies - but just a little more public. Entry to the event includes a 'skillshare' demonstration for some of the popular activities to ensure safety and understanding of techniques - this can be quite interesting for those who are new to the scene. For those who aren't interested in that aspect of things, it's relatively easy to just pretend you didn't see anything- but then I'd question why you are there at all.
The music played at Neo is electro-techno with a gothic/dark flavour which provides a typically mellow but sometimes energetic background setting for everything else that is going on.
Inside you'll find an environment that comfortably blends night club, lounge and bar. Despite the unusual theme for the club, the decor is welcoming and encourages social gatherings, as well as providing slightly more private areas if they are sought by patrons.
The people are generally very friendly and open, welcoming anyone with a genuine interest in becoming part of a social community. A principle of respect, education and indulgence is encouraged by management. Contrary to many clubs in Melbourne, there is a conspicuous absence of creepy, sleazy old men trying to pick up women half their age - it's refreshing and most welcome for single women.
Abode has different events on each weekend of the month and interested people can find out more by searching for Abode on Facebook. The club is located on the corner of St Kilda Road and Martin Street, St Kilda.
Dress code is enforced strictly - no blue denim, no casual attire, minimum all black (although colour is more than welcome, provided it is classy and suitably dressy). Latex, leather, corsets, gothic, and lingerie are all welcomed, but not required. Cross dressing is also acceptable.
A door charge of ~$20 applies.
Any young open minded person who is curious about alternative cultures should check this event out! You might just be surprised by what you find out about yourself! It certainly was an interesting experience for me. However I stress that this club is NOT suitable for people who aren't open minded and genuinely interested.
Rating: Over all 4/5
Atmosphere: 4.5/5** (I'm giving .5 bonus points for being unique)
Price of drinks: Acceptable. The cocktails and shots are very interesting.