Rio Room Is Kinda Like That Rave Scene In The Second Matrix Movie. Only, Y'know, Less Dirt.
Thursdays are indeed the new hot night in the D. And leading the pack of midweek melees has been Rio Room, located near the intersection of Knox and Travis, tucked just behind the old Trece.
For the better part of a year, Rio's team has been bringing international DJs of the highest caliber to our city for their weekly Thursday night dance party series. While I've attended these Thursday night fetes with considerable frequency, I had never been to the club on a “normal” night, as I tend to prefer the weekend pub scene to the weekend club scene. But that all changed this weekend when, with a friend in town craving some action, I teased my hair, slung on my heels, and got my ass to the club.
Those who have never been to Rio may be taken aback upon first entrance. And by “taken aback,” I mean completely, mind-fuckingly overwhelmed.
Entering the club is like entering what I assume clubs on future moon colonies will look like. It's all chrome everything — walls, floors, you name it — with spastic lasers bouncing off every surface, as they're all either impossibly shiny or just plain obnoxiously reflective. And then the pervading smells of sweat and lust hit.
It's like that rave scene in the second Matrix, but with less dirt. Everything inside the club is hazy, due in equal part to the oft-used fog machine and the strong (and, yes, quite expensive) drinks. Or perhaps it's just your eyes trying to adjust to the bombast of green lights shooting around your head? Those suckers seem to ricochet for tens of yards. Don't be fooled, its just a mirror; the place is covered with them. In fact, all the walls are mirrors. Like one of those bad funhouse sequences in late '80s/early '90s horror movies, these mirrors are inescapable. In this setting, however, they're not so scary. Rather than give the illusion of being trapped, they help to magnify the space, making it seem considerably larger than it is in actuality.
But while Rio may very much be “a club's club,” its crowd is surprisingly diverse, albeit somewhat douchey on the weekends. The male frequenters range from well-dressed Latin gentlemen who almost always have tables and balding 30-somethings in bejeweled blouses to drunker-than-anyone collegiate types trying a taste of “real world” partying. (I remember my first club, boys!) Then there are the women. Listen: Rio is not the place to go for a bachelorette party, as the female crowd tends to take themselves a pretty seriously. Leggy model types abound, as well as those who look as though they might moonlight at The Clubhouse. There are bad extensions, six-inch heels, the whole lot.
But while they differ in appearance and background, the patrons of Rio have one critical thing in common. They all want to dance.
On this particular night, the DJ played everything from infectious pop numbers to a (totally misguided) Bloody Beetroots track. Tempos were always kept at a stomping pace, and by midnight the floor was so packed that just getting through it to the bathroom felt like swimming upstream.
Know this: Rio isn't the type of place where one goes to stand around and talks to friends. The music is deafening, making anything but the closest of conversations unintelligible. So, y'know, what else is there to do but dance? Even those with tables bordering the back of the room can often be seen leaving their plush VIP digs to join the frenzy of the packed floor.
No, Rio Room might not be everyone's favorite place — even I would have trouble frequenting it every week, due in large part to the strain it would undoubtedly put on my wallet — but, for a night on the town with some friends and the intention to get down and dancey, you'd be hard pressed to find a better venue in all of the city.