Taking its name from the legendary NYC nightclub that closed its doors in 2001, Twilo is the latest classy, DJ-oriented joint to open up in Beijing. Straddling the line between lounge and club, Twilo sensibly splits its operation in two. At street level, you’ll find a small lounge with a second-floor mezzanine, a couple of circular booths, a tiny bar and a steep spiral staircase down to the underground club section.
The club is an exercise in modern style that eschews the stripped-down feel of many. This new opening aims for somewhere between the outlandish, fairground hellholes on Gongti and the minimalist, Berlin-esque feel of the more serious electronic music destinations. The appeals to credibility are helped by the open-plan DJ booth that, refreshingly, turns the DJs into faces in the crowd rather than deifying them like certain other clubs in the city.
But when it comes to the drinks it’s a different matter: cocktails cost 60RMB, while bottle deals start at 800RMB for Chivas 12 and rise steeply from there. The cheapest drink on offer is a 50RMB bottle of Heineken. A night of drinking in Twilo will set you back far more than in Lantern or Haze, its two most direct rivals. While we appreciate having another underground music venue in Beijing and understand that rent prices are up everywhere, we think the club’s management are going to be disappointed if they expect to sell much booze.
Twilo’s close proximity to Haze and Spark could ostensibly turn this part of town into the thinking raver’s Gongti: a place where you can be rid of the dice shakers, fruit platters and insular groups sitting around empty dancefloors. Or they might all close within a year; it’s difficult to tell whether Beijingers will take to this new standard of pricey drinks and underground music. Ross Goulding