Madison

Oisín Murphy-Hall
Posted July 11, 2013 in Bar Reviews

Downstairs off Wicklow Street is Madison, open on Friday and Saturday nights only. It promises both ‘the sexiest crowd around’ and ‘the sexiest beats anywhere’ on its website. Sounds pretty sexy alright. Dressed to impress, Anton and I glide past the velvet rope. He’s wearing a white leather jacket, which goes uncommented upon by the bouncer. It seems nobody ever comments on his white leather jacket.

Friday night. We descend the entranceway staircase, leaving the street behind. It looks like 2007 is being pulled out of the ground before our very eyes. The stately curtains along the dance-floor’s huge walls break about eight feet up, beneath which is all mirrors, fibre-optic perspex counter-fixtures and vulcanised
rubber-padded pillars on plain black surfaces. First as tragedy, then as farce, as the man says. You’ve never heard Rude Boy played this quickly before. It’s like a jack-hammer. A verse and a chorus, then it’s gone, and the same with the next one. The DJ mixes in front of a gaudy Jumbotron. There’s a lad with his
sweater tied around his shoulders drinking a glass of white wine and bopping to Nelly. His friends appreciate his dancing; their faces are lit up. He raises his glass and shouts something ― ‘more white wine!’, perhaps ― and they shuffle over towards the bar.

The guts of fifteen quid for two Jaegerbombs. Nobody else seems to be sipping them. Strictly over 24s tonight. There’s an old lad over there dancing tentatively. Small steps away from the railing at the edge of the dance-floor, like he’s learning how to swim. Away from the dancing, all the seats are taken.
An area behind a curtain is marked as reserved. Up to the smoking area, and it looks like the Globe’s except stretched out twice or three times as big. Potted plants grow in the shape of one half of a double-helix. It’s becoming clear now that everyone is drinking wine. Anton and I sip our €5.50 Heinekens and wait for something to happen. Everybody just keeps drinking wine. The whole place is like something you’d get in an expansion pack for The Sims.

‘That was shite,’ Anton says, swinging his white leather jacket on like Martin Sheen, as we set off in search of a late bar. I mention to him how I felt it was like a club from 2007 or something. He nods and reminds me about the time I tried to start smoking a pipe. ‘That was a farce the first time around,’ he affirms.

6-8 Wicklow St.,
Dublin 2
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