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Lobo is a painfully fashionable nightclub downstairs from the Morrison hotel beside the river Liffey in Dublin, Ireland. Billing itself as "Dublin's most exclusive nightclub", Lobo employs model-gorgeous bar staff and waiters who seem to be trained in a wide range of expressions ranging from simple disdain to outright, openly communicated revulsion. Their cocktail menu is very popular, with drinks starting at 7 or 8 euro, and if one is so inclined one can sample their sushi, prepared, of course, by "our highly-trained Sushi Chefs."

Admission to Lobo is €10, and is in strict accordance with their door policy, shared by their parent, the Morrison: if you look like you have money, or are good looking, you can come in. The result is that Lobo, on a typical Friday or Saturday night, is full of affluent, drunk young professionals, poseurs, and the occasional minor celebrity in the "VIP area", which is usually empty. The music is usually excellent, with local and national DJs keeping the tone from descending into the mindless popular disco beat that dominates Dublin's night life. The decor suits their profile: low, atmospheric lighting; a gigantic fish tank crowded with exotic-looking fish gently waving their expensive fins; an enormous golden gong hanging like a surrogate sun against the back wall; exquisite urinals cascading with crystal clear water, that look like no one has ever pissed in them.

It is very easy to get thrown out of the Morrison, and it is very easy to piss the staff off. A friend of mine was ejected when he decided it would be an excellent idea to ring the giant gong with his head. Apparently they don't like that. Neither do they like patrons to play with the pencil-thin hanging bulbs that illuminate each low table in the VIP area - if they see you swinging them or shining them in your friends' eyes, they will approach the table and, without a word, firmly remove them from your grasp and replace them in their correct position. With an expression of disdain. Or possibly even revulsion, depending on how you are dressed.

One night, myself and two friends had blagged ourselves into the VIP area, presuming that it would be empty as usual, but there turned out to be a large group of beautiful, airbrushed-looking guys and beautiful, stick-thin girls sitting around four of the tables. We were curious, and eventually, when Jake had drunk enough, he approached them and started to talk, propping himself up against the back of one of their chairs, drawing suspicious glances from the attentive bar staff, who were perhaps regretting letting us into the area (I don't know why they let us in. Maybe they thought we looked like sleazy record producers). After nearly half an hour Jake returned and sat down, grinning, and said "Wanna go to a boy band party?" It turned out that the celebrities in question were the boy band, Five, with whom he had been having an animated discussion about greyhound racing and football, and they had invited him to a party. He was very excited. "There'll be coke and groupies!"

Unfortunately, all the cocktails were catching up with Jake very quickly, and within twenty minutes his eyelids were drooping, and he was saying things like "I'm gonna talk to them again. They support fucking Manchester United." We left, and he spent the walk home shouting "Lesbians!" at anyone who walked past him, male or female. Ever since then, whenever he's in Ireland, he tries to persuade me to bring him to Lobo again, convinced that it must be swarming with bands and TV stars and bright glittery groupie parties, the shiny image that they try so hard to manufacture.


Lobo's website: http://weblab.ucd.ie/~c97bf26b/lobomenu.htm