TALLINN - Maybe "revolution" is too strong a word, but there's definitely something going on in Tallinn's club scene. BonBon has reinvented itself, Club Prive is on the verge of an expansion, and now a mammoth new venue, Parlament, has opened its doors, threatening to knock the better-established clubs off their pedestals.
On the Friday night after the club's Aug. 27 opening, whispers and rumors led me to Parlament's location near the Stockmann department store, but obviously the word was out 's the sidewalk in front of the club was jammed with waiting taxis, girls bouncing to and fro in provocative outfits and a queue that spilled across the sidewalk to the edge of the street.
Ten minutes of standing sandwiched between guys in leather jackets convinced me it would be better to try again the next day.
That turned out to be a wise move. Though I'd arrived before the midnight rush, the place was already respectably crowded. But I was too busy gawping at the vast main hall to notice. The room is three levels high, with two balcony floors and five bars overlooking the large dance area. The advertised "2,500-person capacity" figure suddenly took on real meaning.
"Now do you understand where the name 'Parlament' comes from?" asked Sten, who was showing me around the place. He pointed out that the entire hall - dance floor and balconies included - curves around the stage so it vaguely looks as if the performers are addressing parliament. I briefly pictured Riigikogu Chairwoman Ene Ergma in a minidress surrounded by fellow members of the Res Publica faction all bopping away to "Ice, Ice Baby," but the image was just too disturbing to hold.
No, the clientele here are mostly of the young, beautiful set, the same you'd find in Club Hollywood. The club's target age group is supposedly 20 - 35, but the average here seemed to be about 21, and there were hundreds and hundreds of these young, care-free souls, filling the dance floor, milling about on the balconies, or huddled in the countless semicircular lounge sofas.
Dozens more had found their way to Parlament's second, smaller hall, itself actually bigger than some of Tallinn's other clubs. This room has three levels, its own bar and a DJ booth.
I have to point out that a couple of faults, perhaps teething problems, were apparent in the club. The dance floor was unexpectedly sticky, and I had to wait nearly a quarter of an hour with my belly against the bar before a barmaid would acknowledge my beerless existence.
Neither of these things would be enough to drive the crowds away though, especially considering the club's main strength 's its event line-up.
Big-name acts are on the bill each and every weekend, along with special parties involving teams of guest DJs and performers. Of particular interest will be the R'n'B Cafe, a professionally organized, international R'n'B party that takes place here on the second Thursday of each month. At most other times, it'll be mainstream pop that keeps them dancing at Parlament.
Of course, the fundamental question for any new club in Tallinn is whether it will be able to hold on to its popularity once the novelty has worn off, or will it go through a quick boom and bust like so many places before it.
It's a fair question, especially for a club outside the Old Town, and I pondered it while sipping the beer I'd finally managed to order. Then I saw how passionately the crowd was reacting to the well-known Ines singing on stage, and also noticed a couple madly groping one another next to the stairs. Fame, alcohol, hormones. Yeah, I think this place will probably be around for a while.
Club Parlament, Tartu mnt. 17
Tel. 666 2900
Open Thurs 9pm - 4am, Fri, Sat 9pm - 5am