Wherever you are, you’re never (too) far from a gay bar. So tune in every week for the inside track on why your local queer venue loves you, and why you should love it right back, as we get the low-down from the people who know best – the owners, the barmen, the DJs and the fabulous performers.
Dollar Baby takes place every Friday night at the East London gay/mixed club venue and strip club Metropolis. It’s a night of pure hedonism, packed with club kids, hot guys and East London scenesters. Shake your stuff in two gorgeous rooms, one playing filthy house and the other pop and hip-hop.
Queen of the scene, Jodie Harsh runs the show along with her partner in crime, JJ Clark.
How long have you been involved in Dollar Baby?
We started the party in September, so it’s only been five months or so. Lady Gaga rocked up on our opening night to drop ‘Perfect Illusion’ for the first time anywhere, so that made it quite a special little start!
What five words would you use to sum up the night?
Venue: stripper poles, carwash, old school disco, East End craziness, leopard print glamour.
Night: Funky fresh dressed to impress ready to party
(Sorry I went over the allowance a little, I always break rules).
What’s the crowd like?
It’s such a mixed bag, which I think is the selling point of the night. I’ve always been about bringing different groups of people together, that’s what makes a good night to me. I hate clubs or parties that are just all one thing – you’ve got to have all the right ingredients mixed together in order to create that story, make those moments happen. At Dollar Baby you’ll get some hot guys that live in the gym that might otherwise hang at Room Service or WE Party, and you’ll get some major looks and super-polished drag, and some twinkly club kids, and some hot straight tattooed model boys, maybe the odd celebrity or two. I like to unite different communities, different industries – for me, that’s a party.
Why do people love your venue and what makes it unique?
It’s SO unique. I mean, it’s a proper East End strip joint Monday through Thursday. There’s a BEACH on the top floor – a fucking beach! The main room is all about the stage and the stripper poles and the lasers, and then the brand new basement room is where all the hot gay action goes down. People know the venue from our brothers and sisters at Savage which is on Saturday nights. They really put the space on the map as the hot spot in town and they asked me and JJ if we’d like to come on board at the club and do something totally different on Friday nights. It works so well – our night is pop-and-house-music-led and theirs is disco, so we cater for different crowds. There are obviously people who will come to both nights, too. Metropolis is such a cool venue that some people want to be on that stripper pole whenever the doors are open!
What is a typical night like ?
We go really late, so I usually rock up around 1am. The ground floor is the pop/hip hop room, that’s where all the club kids hang out. We play everything from Charli XCX and Dua Lipa through to really hard trap beats and PC Music stuff. Then in the basement it’s where the boys get sweaty and the beats are housey. You might find me there in a dark corner late at night!
Who would you never let through the door?!
Anyone who’s not down with our vibe – my parties are about I would never not let in a group because they’re straight or whatever – but if they don’t seem to fit with the core crowd or they could potential conflict with the party being a safe space and a place of open self expression then they’re just not coming in.
Gay venues are closing down all the time– what do you think the gay scene needs to do to keep thriving?
It’s a huge shame – there is SO much value in nightlife. It brings people together, it’s where artists meet other artists and boyfriends meet boyfriends. It’s where music, fashion and dancing all meet and create this magical recipe and if that’s continued to be taken away from London – supposedly one of the most culturally rich cities in the world – then I don’t know what the fuck we’re doing here in this town unless we’re a businessman in the City or have mega rich parents. We need to preserve the night culture here, and that requires people willing to have ideas and create fun things to go to, venues (like Metropolis) to embrace these events and provide a space for them to happen, and people to go out and support them and have the best time. All is not lost, but we absolutely have to preserve what we have left right now.
Describe your own ideal night out:
Hot boys, hot girls, out of this world looks, old friends and new friends, an amazing place to dance and amazing music to dance to.
What events have you got coming up in the next few weeks/months?
Every single Friday Dollar Baby is at Metropolis – we have some special things planned but I prefer to keep secrets until they happen 🙂
All images: Adam Khadaroo