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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Buddha Seeking Club Nirvana

The coming May holidays promise plenty of days off and dacha fun, but don't let them sap all your energy: Save some for the final weeks of May, when the city's newest venue, The Buddha Bar, is set to open its doors for the first time.

Located in the space formerly home to once-popular dance club Gramophone, Buddha's owners promise big things. Gramophone was sold to new owners in February and closed in March "for renovations," at which point the club unceremoniously deserted its home near TsUM, never to be heard from again.

Exit Gramophone. Enter Buddha.

So, what's in a name? Apparently, not much. The only homage, in fact, Buddha the bar will pay to Buddha the man will be a four-meter-high statue of the portly Indian prince and founder of a world religion.

As for the rest of the bar, co-owner Jean-Michel Kosnio, who also opened the Voodoo Lounge, said Buddha will be "a New York kind of club" - inexpensive and popular among club-goers from all walks of life.

They'll achieve this diversity with an interior design that is nothing if not eclectic - each room will have a different theme. Where Gramophone had its cloakroom, Buddha will have The 100% Pure Sapphire Bar, painted head to toe in bright royal blue and lit by blue lights with blue bulbs. The drinks, of course, will be blue, too.

In the next room, the one that housed Gramophone's bar, will be the Chandelier Bar, with plenty of comfy velvet sofas for eating, drinking or just sitting around. The room will at some point be furnished with large drums for tables, but those are currently held up in customs. Here, a DJ will play what owners Jean Michel and Stanley Williams (whose earlier projects included the After Hours Meeting Point) called "lounge lizard" music. They declined to be more specific.

In the adjacent Caviar Studio (Gramophone's chill out room), guests will sink into overstuffed armchairs and indulge in one (or two, or three) caviar dishes (200 to 400 rubles) or a platter of French Oysters (80 rubles each). Pass the champagne - who said decadence had gone out of style?

Buddha's dance floor will remain just as it was in the days when Gramophone promoter Francesca Canty was in charge, with one exception: the music.

"We'll be the only club in Moscow that will play this kind of music," said Williams, who plans to spin vinyls as DJ Stanley on Fridays and Saturdays. For Williams, it's all old hat. He once DJ'd at the now defunct club Hermitage and, back in 1984, at private parties at the mansion of pop star Madonna.

"We won't play music for the masses," Williams said.

Featured on William's playlist (which he'll play on the club's new $100,000 sound system) will be "an alternative version of something like Eiffel 65's 'Blue (da ba dee)'," Cher's ancient disco hit "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" and the like.

"Moscow needs something good," Williams said. "Maybe this is it."


Cover: weekdays 150 rubles for men, 50 rubles for women, weekends 250 rubles for men, 100 rubles for women. 3 Pushechnaya Ulitsa. Metro Kuznetsky Most. Tel. 924-5633. Fri. and Sat. 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., Sun. 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. Credit cards: V, MC, DE, AE.