Friday nights in Lagos are always fun considering the array of clubs, restaurants and joints fun seekers can go to enjoy themselves. Nowadays, you need not go far off your neighborhood to locate a decent hangout. Ikeja, Surulere, Lekki, Ikoyi, VI, Isolo, Lagos Island etc. Out of these localities, one place where you can be rest assured to find the finest fun spots with the poshest crowd is definitely VI. That is why it wasn’t a surprise when the fast growing restaurant chain, Rhapsody decided to open up a branch in Victoria Island after a successful opening their flagship Ikeja branch.
I had been to the Ikeja Mall Branch sometime last year and really loved the ambience. The fact that you could get a pint of beer in a UK Pub style fashion tickled my fancy as I quickly gulped two large glasses of cold Heineken Beer. So, once I heard the VI branch was open to the public and that it was a very nice spot I knew visiting there as well was inevitable.
I visited the Rhapsody for the first time sometime in March with friends , some of whom where holidaying in Nigeria. The first impression I got was quite good as I thought the layout and aesthetic configuration of the bar and sitting area was ingenious. We sat at the East corner towards the left side of the bar giving us a near panoramic view of the club. My immediate impression was the blue themed effects of the lightening and the flurry of sitting arrangement I thought was quite impressive. There seemed to be lots of tables and no VIP setting as is common with most Lagos clubs. I did not immediately see a non-smoking section as the one in Ikeja and could not verify if there was indeed any at all or if there was a time for that.
I also noticed the age bracket of some the guests where between 23-60 with fewer teenagers or student as you would expect in most VI clubs. It also had a rainbow like feel as it was filled with almost as equal caucasians as it was blacks. These two observations in no derogatory terms, quickly meant two things to me…dry music and grand standing. The popular Lagos clubs where you are guaranteed to dance till you drop always was about the music than about the crowd. The DJ’s never seem to know how to make you sit.
And so, we warmed ourselves into the club setting looking forward to a very memorable night. As expected the DJ kept interchanging house, techno, Naija, hiphop etc all in a bid to help the rainbow crowd feel among. The result was an incoherent passage of noisy music that had you rise to your feet in one swing only to sink back into your sit shortly after in despair. It seemed like one of those mexican wave thingy as some quickly sat after standing only for others to stand after sitting.
Despite this shortcomings we were determined to catch out fun one way or the other provided we had drinks to help boost adrenalin. Unfortunately our adrenalin will remain deflated as our drinks order took forever to arrive . To the consternation of our female friends who were desperately looking for a club where they could at least dance, we soon left for Aura.
I went back to Rhapsody last Friday with another group of friends following the buzz the club had created since my last visit. This time the crowd was twice what it was when I last visited. It was as if the whole Lagos as there considering the difficultly we had squeezing past the sea of fun seekers, who rather than dance were mostly jaded to say the least. Luckily, my friends who were there before me had a table already so all I needed to do was to tuck myself in. This was about 1am and strangely I noticed their table was empty. On inquiry I learnt they had not been attended to. We swivelled our heads from side to side in the hope that we would get attention. After a frustrating 20mins or so, I decided I have had enough and went straight to the bar to help myself. The overwhelmed bar tenders barely noticed my desperation as they grappled with the confusion and noise from thirsty looking party boppers coming their way. Eventually, I got my order of a bottle of Vodka, Cranberry, a jar of Ice and Glasses. Off course, they expected me to carry everything myself, which I somehow managed to do.
Rhapsody is a decent joint with a lovely ambience but not suited for a club. They can’t handle the high intensity of service required in the competitive club industry in VI. Their waiters are either confused or disenchanted looking for tips as they clutch on to their POS machines. The music is dry and not what most Islanders are familiar with. It will be hard to see the “club”side of Rhapsody last beyond one year. Its perception as a fledging bar and restaurant is probably where its strength lies. It should stick to that.