CLUBBING

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The Independent Culture
Cafe de Paris, 3-4 Coventry Street, London W1 (0171-734 7700) Sats 8pm-4am free before 11pm/pounds 10 after/pounds 15

London recently gained the reputation for having the best nightlife in the world. Yet, too many clubs provide stale imitations of other people's innovations.

Yes, London does boast some of the best clubs in the world - you just have to wade through a sea of overpriced garbage to find them.

Since its renovation at the end of last year, the Cafe de Paris has had the capital's clubbing socialites buzzing. It's part bar, part restaurant, part club and 100 per cent over-subscribed at weekends.

"I wanted to create an atmosphere where people could come to eat, drink, dance and enjoy quality service," explains the man responsible for the venue's philosophy, Nick Trulocke. "We've been so successful because the timing was right. People have become more sophisticated over the last two years and perhaps they also have more money to spend."

They certainly do if you consider that champagne accounts for 35 per cent of the club's bar sales.

A strict door policy is rigorously enforced here; Jamiroquai's Jay has been deemed too scruffy on more than one occasion. It's not that you have to sport a whistle, but some kind of effort is demanded of patrons.

The grade-II listed building boasts a quite breathtaking interior. The 1930s aesthetic is complemented by lavishly themed rooms and bars.

The dancefloor is ringed on two levels by dining and drinking tables. Those of you lucky enough to obtain VIP status can enjoy a myriad of rooms (sporting everything from satellite TV to jacuzzi) behind the main dance floor.

Music is varied and colourful; funky beatz feature early on, giving way to uplifting anthems. No big-name DJs here, just plenty of big names.

EYE ON THE NEW Fresh 'n' Funky promoter, Wayne offers B-boyz and girls a new joint - Gosh! at Camden's HQ club. Brian Norman, Lockin and DJ Vixen offer phat servings of R'n'B, rap, soul and swing beatz for a smart and funky crowd. The club is on the small side but the tunes are perfectly formed. Well worth a visit if you're in the area.

Gosh!, Saturdays at Club HQ, West Yard Camden Lock, London, NW1 (0171-485 6044) 8.30pm-2am pounds 4 before 10.30pm/pounds 6 after

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