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Drinking & Dancing

Coat Check
By Alexander Antonov
Issue 5
April 8 - May 13, 2004

Arina Birstein shares secrets for stashing coats in trendy, crowded nightclubs; and Kimberly O’Haver gets some coat attendants’ side of the story.

Alexei Scherbina
Oh, the stress of clubbing life. After dressing up to fit a venue’s concept, struggling through the crowd of VIPs at the front doors and risking rejection by the face control filter, the club-goer faces yet another severe trial once inside: the coat check. Knowing a couple of tricks, however, can help keep clubbers from stressing out before the party even begins.

After standing in line behind at least 10 other women at Zeppelin’s front staircase in an attempt to check your Custo coat, which, of course, doesn’t have a loop sewn at the neck for hanging, the sneaky cloakroom attendant tells you that no hanger will be available for at least 30 minutes. Well, don’t believe everything you hear. Slipping a 100-ruble bill in the attendant’s direction is one way to overcome such obstacles. If this trick doesn’t work, try the unguarded corner on the third level of the club right by the entrance to the former cafeteria — although this requires you to deftly maneuver through the entire club with your coat wrapped around your arm. Also, this second option is often fraught with the unpleasant early-morning discovery that your coat has been moved somewhere else. To the club’s credit, however, such a mishap usually sorts itself out as soon as the “thief” sobers up enough to realize the mistake. Still, you might be forced to travel home with no coat at all.

In the event that your glamorous arrival at Ministerstvo is darkened by the sight of a long queue waiting to meet the powerful coat checker, don’t despair. Take a right turn at the entrance and check your garment at the tiny coat room right underneath the staircase. The cheerful attendant there cannot resist the charms of nice-looking girls and is sure to find a place for your Escada sports jacket. Some additional negotiating and small tips should allow for a number of your friends’ coats to be placed on the same hanger as yours. In case this doesn’t work, the final solution is to leave all the coats in the trunk of your car, which will save you from standing in the same line to get them back later.

If Zima’s strict cloak room attendant has informed you that no space is left for your fabulous Fendi, this might really indicate trouble. Before vacating the venue, try the furthest coat-checking window in the narrow corridor. This last one has an extra space hidden in the basement. For some reason management seems to keep it reserved for someone else and never advertises it publicly, but they won’t argue with you once you’re there. If the cloak room really is overloaded and this does not work, you will have to either wait for someone to leave or leave yourself.

B2 recently enlarged its cloak room space by adding another facility to the right of the entrance door. But if there are two worthwhile concerts in the club at the same time, you may still be stuck with your MEXX anorak in hand. Keep in mind that some extra investments on your part could go a long way to making the retired colonel on the other side of the counter become unbelievably inventive. However, be sure to somehow mark your personal belongings; otherwise you might spend hours explaining how your coat looked before you “checked it in.”

Maybe Fabrique’s creators precisely calculated the maximum number of guests wishing to get rid of their Diesel jackets at once, or maybe the club hasn’t outgrown its capacity yet — but whatever the explanation, you’ll never spend more than seven minutes waiting in line to check your coat at this new mega-club. Be aware, however, that it might take much longer to get your coat back, as the attendants are still getting familiar with the two-level system. However, they really try hard to reduce the amount of time you spend waiting in line.

Alexander Antonov

Phlegmatic Dog

Coatroom attendant: Asya

Asya, a university student, is a waitress at the Phlegmatic Dog who often finds herself taking coats.

The worst part of the job is handling heavy coats. Another problem is that “often visitors ask to hang two or three coats on one hanger. There isn’t even space because the coat check is so small.”

Asya’s biggest annoyance is when people leave their cell phones in their coat pockets and “they simultaneously all ring – like a siren all around.”

What about tips? “We don’t count on them at all. The people who come here are young and don’t know they’re supposed to leave some money.”

Alexander Antonov


Coatroom attendant: Inna

Inna has worked at Propaganda for six years, but she also works as a lighting designer for a theater.

“The evening working hours suit me,” she said. “Many interesting people come here. In six years I have definitely made friends.”

There aren’t really any negative aspects of her work in the coat room, she said, but she admitted “you need to have patience” in this line of work.

“This club is good when it comes to relations with its employees,” she said.

And tips? “Of course people tip,” she said. “Gays give the most, so I really like to work at gay parties.”

Alexander Antonov


Coatroom attendant: Yura

Yura has worked as a coat checker at Vermel for three months.

“The schedule is convenient since it’s at night — I am preparing for university entrance exams during the day,” he said. “The pay is good.”

The worst part of his job is that the coat check room is cramped. “On the weekends it fills up and people have to stand in line and wait for a free spot.”

Unpleasant situations are rare, except when “people become unsatisfied after they have had too much to drink.” Also, “there are times when things like scarves go missing, but we always find them.”

So far Yura’s biggest tip has been 500 rubles. “But that happened only once,” he said.

Alexander Antonov


Coatroom attendant: Valery Ivanovich

A former military officer, Valery has worked at B2 for two of the 16 years that he has worked as a coat checker to supplement his pension.

“When Grebenshchikov played,” recalled Valery, “up to 2,000 people came and the coat check was full, but we tried to serve everyone by hanging two and three coats together.”

One of the pluses is “socializing with the people who come here to relax.” The worst part is when guests lose their tags. “They are supposed to provide [monetary] compensation and that’s when it gets unpleasant.”

B2 guests leave tips: “They’re small, but they give.”

8 Bolshaya Sadovaya Ul. (M. Mayakovskaya)
209-9909, noon-6am

Phlegmatic Dog
1 Manezh Square (enter from the Alexandrovsky Sad side) (M. Okhotny Ryad)
995-9554, 11am-1am, Fri. 11am-6am

7 Bolshoi Zlatoustinsky Per. (M. Kitai-Gorod)
923-3494, noon-6am, Thu.-Sat. noon-7am

4/5 Raushskaya Nab. (M. Novokuznetskaya)
959-3303, weekdays noon-5am, weekends 6pm-6am

Today's Gigs
20:00 - Subelectronica with Boris Romanov aka DJ OnLee plus special guests: non-lounge electronic music, uptempo, leftfield
Live concerts, special projects
The Routes


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