Sunday, December 10, 2006

Eye Exam at Crave Lounge

"Double Vision" at Crave (Dearborn) Saturday night was full of potential. And as much as we want to bitch and moan about all the bad things we found, we really can't. Sitting around a table at the Hyatt for brunch, we all agree that Crave did a great job this past evening and threw out most of the stops. Of course there were a handful of things that could have been better, but the overall turnout in combination with Nick Kimber's mix led to an almost perfect night. I'll admit that I'm more than guilty of making out on the dance floor and should probably be banned from Crave for the number of toes I stepped on while trying to keep my dance partner from falling backwards. But I was kindly rewarded with ringing ears that I'm guessing will stay with me well into next week. We'll see...

Start Time
Aside from the "Crave the [blank]" parties, events at Crave always seem to be hit or miss. After the complete failure of "Tribe" (or whatever it was called), we were slightly concerned that this event would also bomb. In fact, we passed up the first snowboarding excursion of the year, just for the chance of writing what we thought would be a really horrible review of the night. Luckily, we were wrong to think such things and were right to pass up the slopes. Arriving at 930p, we found the place to be somewhat dead. It was unfortunate that the majority of people were still eating dinner, but we expected as much. If the rush hits at 1030/11p, the only way to really avoid it is to get there earlier and stand over the shoulder of people enjoying their dinner. Personally, I would be pissed if I had a dinner date and people were allowed to mingle in front of me, but whatever. Crave does what they can with the space available. If you got there early, you only had to pay $10 to get in. If you got there later, it was $20+mandatory coat check. Yikes!

Atmosphere
Crave is a trendy place. The decor is great (incl. the Christmas additions), the music is always something kind of euro, and the staff is extremely professional. Inside the restaurant there is a strict no smoking policy, while the tent outside the restaurant offers an alternate vibe, as well as ashtrays. But don't come here to do shots, watch the game, and drink beer. Instead, pick your favorite flavor of liquor and start talking to the person next to you. I sampled an Espresso Martini and was pleasantly surprised- not only by the drink, but also by the quality of the martini glass itself. It's very well balanced, and allows for easy movement in a bumpy crowd without the worry of a spill. However, go with the typical rum+coke or vodka+tonic and you'll most likely get either a plastic cup, or a hot glass straight out of the dishwasher capable of giving you burn blisters. On a side note, there is a lot of great seating in Crave. On a bad side note, pretty much all the seating has to be reserved. We say kill all reservations after a certain time, save for the back room, and let people mix it up on the couches. By the way, is the back room limited to private parties? We're curious to find out.


Attack of the Clones
Looking around, at no point did I NOT see two guys who looked almost identical. Between the haircuts, shirts, jeans, and shoes, I swear that there must have been a website out there that helped facilitate some kind of fashion coordination amongst the men. This isn't to say that the guys didn't look good. Nor am I claiming that everyone out there had a clone of their own. I'm merely pointing out that maybe the L'Uomo Vogue and Dolce Moda mass emails that are going around might be getting too good of a response; either that or everyone is taking advantage of the same daily H&M Christmas sales. From what I heard, there were also a string of bad pickup lines and bad jokes going around. We feel for the women who had to suffer through them. And in case you're wondering how the women looked, you need not ask. The default answer is that the women who go to Crave always look spectacular. I've seen the same girls out and about elsewhere in Detroit, but for some reason they just look better when they walk into Crave. Maybe it's a testament to the quality of the environment? Because in all honesty, no matter how good a girl looks, if she walks into any Post Bar or club in Pontiac, the last thing a guy is thinking about is how good she looks with her clothes on. (Sexist? Yea. But it's true.)

Head Music
The best part of the night had to be the moment Nick Kimber stepped into the DJ booth. All the music that you never really hear had a chance to finally come out. No longer are the memories associated with Ministry of Sound and Hed Kandi tracks confined to events that happened while listening to songs at home or in the car. The response of the crowd only further demonstrated that Detroit clubs no longer have to lower their standards to Top 40 and Booty Music. Someone should start stamping the Hed Kandi logo on their flyers instead of listing people's birthdays. It's a real shame though that a good percentage of guests partied outside in the tent during Kimber's set. Hed Kandi was a real treat and probbably better than anything anyone got on Halloween.

Dude Where's My Coat?
If Ashton Kutcher ever wanted to create a sequel to his insanely unsuccessful comedy from 2000, he could stage it at Crave. Try getting your coat from coat check near the end of the night and you'll hate yourself for leaving a tip at the beginning. Coats went missing. Coats were lying on the ground. And people were causing worse traffic jams in the hallway than those on 696 on morning weekdays. Next time, just keep your coat in the car and deal with the cold until the heat kicks on.

SUMMARY
If only Crave could find DJ's to play Ministry of Sound and Hed Kandi tracks on a regular basis, it would have an excellent chance of becoming the hottest spot in Metro-Detroit. If only they wouldn't buy into the whole "Come Celebrate My Birthday" events, they might be able to bring in an even more diverse crowd. The event was actually a CD release party for Captn20 (I think)... Exclusive Detroit has no idea why that was the main event, and not Kimber's visit. It should have been the other way around, with the local DJ's being grateful for even getting on the bill.

Our request to Crave? Please break free from local DJ's who play the same music at every other venue they book. Fix your coat check, kill [at least some] table reservations, and try to find a way to validate my parking so I'm not paying for it. We're glad to know that you haven't gone the way of the lowest common denominator and started catering to the masses at the expense of your ambiance. The vibe currently maintained should be the standard for any venue trying to create a hip atmosphere. We're also especially glad your cappuccino machine has since been repaired. If you promise to look into some of the above issues, we'll do our best to attend your next party and encourage others to do the very same."