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CityWalk – Red Coconut Club

Hip, retro dance club
Where: On the Promenade
Hours: 4:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.

It’s the Rat Pack meets the Jetsons in this witty evocation of 50s-era Las Vegas-style futuristic chic. Step inside and it’s as if you are entering the living room of Frank Sinatra’s Palm Springs getaway. Continue on and you step onto the palm-fringed outdoor patio, where the swimming pool serves as the dance floor and many-pointed stars hover in the dark blue night sky above. But this isn’t a nostalgia trip. The club has a hip, ironic edge that’s very twenty-first century. The tone is captured perfectly by Paul Anka, in his best Sinatra mode, crooning Smells Like Teen Spirit just like Old Blue Eyes himself might have put it across at the Copacabana. If Kurt Cobain ever heard it, he’d kill himself all over again.

The club has a surprisingly large capacity, yet it manages to seem quite intimate. The upstairs balcony offers a great perspective on the dance floor and bandstand below. It is usually open only on weekends, but it is available for private rental throughout the week. There’s live music, too, of course, with a hip combo holding forth from a raised platform behind the patio bar.

The band tailors its repertoire to suit the crowd, moving easily from laid-back sophistication to more upbeat and harder edged selections. Late at night, a D.J. takes over to keep the crowd rocking until closing.

Martinis and Cosmopolitans ($10) are the featured drinks here, but you can also get mojitos and tropical specialties like Mai-Tais and Zombies ($9) as well as Red Coconut Clubs ($8), which are chilled shots mixed with Red Bull. There’s wine, too, most of it Californian, but with a smattering of Australian and New Zealand imports. When it comes to champagne, the Club doesn’t mess with success and offers a generous selection of French classics.

There is a brief and evolving menu of appetizer-sized nibbles ($7) including mini beef filets, coconut fried shrimp, sesame chicken skewers, and vegetable spring rolls with a citrus soy dipping sauce.

A nightly happy hour (8:00 to 10:00 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday) offers discounts on select drinks and appetizers. Thursday is "Ladies Night," with complimentary admission and drink specials for females. "Hospitality Tuesdays" offer the same for local industry workers.

What sets the Red Coconut apart from all other theme-park clubs is its bottle service. Order up a full bottle of premium liquor, wine, or champagne for your party ($120 to $420) and your table instantly becomes its own private club, complete with a red velvet rope limiting access to you and your guests. The bottle is delivered on a silver tray with your choice of two mixers. Pour it yourself or have your server do the honors. What a great way to impress your friends or business associates! And when you consider what it would cost to order drinks a la carte, it can be surprisingly cost-effective.

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Universal Orlando 2011


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