Is it Manila meets AC or Vegas meets AC? You be the one to decide. Here is my take on the newest Superclub to open in AC. Frank and honest.
Despite the trolls and few disgruntled expats who probably wont ever come into or afford this place, henceforth will have no objectionable comments to my opinions, I will still duly don my ceremonial flak-jacket, asbestos-suit, and full metal jacket at this time.
This club looks like it has gone through a lot of planning. A lot. It does not give the impression that it was just thrown together with bits and pieces of ideas from other bars. There is much original décor design here. It may be way too posh by AC standards. But if its elegance and grandeur you want, B.N.E.C. delivers. From the gilded mirrors, the upholstery, the carpet, the wall coverings, to the other finishing touches. As they say. Its all in the details. I am aware that someone spent countless hours sitting in the original shell of space, conceptualizing, imagining, even sketching on the floor to create this place.
B.N.E.C. monograms and logos are everywhere, as if to remind you at every glance where you are. The hallway leading to the CR and the VIP rooms looks like it was transported directly from Ceaser's Palace and threatens to be more luxurious than the main bar area itself. No expense was spared on this place, and it shows. The carpet is soft underfoot, the aircon cool, the music crystal clear and at just the right volume for conversation.
They got these plexiglass-floor bottom-lit mini-stages between the booths lining the walls which are really neat, as the waitresses or anyone else who wants to (I don't know if they are weight-rated for the customers ) can get up on them and dance literally inches from your face. The staff are smartly and elegantly uniformed. The place attempts to scream CLASSY! And it mostly succeeds. Yes, the CR is nice. For a ten second piss you will be impressed.
The main bar area is spacious but still intimate. About the size of Misty's, but here the stage is in one corner. Lots of nice lighting, bright, yet easy on the eyes. The only real serious complaint I have is the floor to ceiling mirror on the left side of the stage (when you are facing it) which the girls dancing near it seem to be hypnotized byand face it most of the time. (not during the choreographed dance routines, of course)
There is the characteristic large screen TV which ironically was showing a live camera display of the current dancers on the pneumatic stage in Blue Nile. I guess if you somehow got bored of watching the B.N.E.C. girls, you could always watch the regular Blue Nile malibog girls, although you can only see the center 5 girls in the front row of the stage.
All this comes at a price. Drinks are 70-75 peso, LDs are 150-160peso. I don't recall the exact figures, I just know that my Mineral Water plus two LDs left me about 400 peso lighter. BFs are 1100 peso.
The membership program was explained to me as such: (the mamasan and other staff need to be a little smoother in their understanding and explanation of the particulars, as they seemed somewhat confused themselves, although they tried gallantly) One of the Mamasans is a cute young thing. Very sweet. used to be a waitress downstairs at Blue Nile.
Platinum is 13500peso for four years (does anything in AC last that long anyway? ) with 4000 peso of it given to you back in vouchers that can be used to pay for your consumption in the establishment. It was not known if that includes BFs when I asked. They should really have this stuff clearly printed up, including the cost of the VIP rooms.
Gold is 8500peso for two years with 5000 peso of that consumable.
Tourist Pass is 1000 peso for one week. No reported consumable.
Aside from the membership duration thing, the best value IMHO would be the Gold as your actual membership fee drops to 3500, which is not too bad to fork over for the privilege. The consumable factor makes the fees more bearable and is a pretty good idea, basically pre selling the drinks in advance.
So, what do you get for your forking over the dough?
Is the place a beauty? Yes. Does the place posses that exclusive and cozy feeling? Yes.
But, what about the most important stuff? THE GIRLS!
Are the girls more beautiful, as promised? Are there actual choreographed shows? Are the dancers outfits a sight? Well........
I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That aside, I must admit that whoever did the hiring really DID put a gallant effort into choosing quality. The majority of the dancers had very, very attractive faces. There was a little extra "Bil Bil" (pudge) floating around, but not that excessive as to be repulsive. The waitresses ranged from attractive to downright beautiful. The bar is still new and might need a post-holidays recruiting period to calibrate their lineup. But to be fair, I must admit that percentage-wise, pound for pound, the majority of girls were of above average. Are they worth an extra 100 peso? You be the judge. It's only 100 peso, and if the management has done their job right, you should expect not to get any runners or short timers from this place. I repeat: not expect .
The club opens at 8:00pm to 5:00am, same as it's younger sister, Blue Nile. The shows start at 9:00pm. And yes, they actually start on time and run a new show every 20 minutes. B.N.E.C. employs a full time choreographer who is also credited with giving the Blue Nile and Neros dancers some routine and rhythm. (They should ship him over to Cambodia Bar for a few days, perhaps with a whip. Those dancers still don't show signs of life)
Filipinos, especially Baklas (gays) are well known for their skills as entertainers and/or singers. The B.N.E.C. choreographer, who I have met briefly, and seems like a super nice guy/gal, really has done a commendable job with the shows. They are a creative mix of pageant/model show, classic burlesque, lingerie display, Vegas showgirl, and Sex-Bomb-Dancer styles. He/she even throws in a lip- synching, microphone-toting singer for added pizzazz. Now, show me a girl on that stage who can actually sing, and you got MY attention. (It shouldn't be that hard to find. AC is saturated with Filipino evening clubs with some excellent singing acts, that I have experienced firsthand.)
The shows are truly entertaining to watch and are a welcome change to the standard back and forth shuffle, occasional bent-over hump, and the token ass-grind you see in all the other bars. I am aware that a lot of work went into the design of the costumes. Apparently it took a small army of sewers to manufacture the vast selection of costumes for the ongoing shows. Its gotta be a job in itself to keep track of and stock all those outfits in a myriad of sizes. The outfits are quite beautiful to see.
Again, it's your individual judgement if it's worth the membership fee and increased drink prices. It IS entertaining, and getting extra value or benefit usually costs more.
The VIP rooms are 4000 peso for platinum and 5000 peso for gold members to reserve for an evening. I didn't get a clear answer on the actual time limit, if any, is placed on the night's usage. Before you freak out, be aware that thankfully (and wisely) the ENTIRE fee is consumable. i.e. your bar tab is deducted from the reservation fee. Basically, they will give you the room as long as you pre-spend the listed amount in bar tab. Does it include BFs, or is it restricted to drinks? Still couldn't get a clear answer.
Now, think about it; I spent about 400 peso in thirty minutes on drinks for only myself and two girls. Three buddies having a private evening in the room would only need to spend a little under 1700peso each for the evening. Throw in a couple more girls with LDs and spending the quota is easy to do.
The VIP rooms are a snug and posh 13x13 foot area with upholstered bench seat all around, and central table. They boast a nice privately controlled sound system, karaoke machine and TV. A telephone is also linked to the bar to order drinks. A nice place for a small 8 person private party, OR you could just rent a hotel suite, do some booze and drink shopping at JJ's, rent a VCD/karaoke player from the front desk, pick up a few song VCDs, and you have almost the same thing for a fraction of the cost, plus the added feature of a bed in the room. My brother and I used to do that all the time. Would we utilize the VIP rooms at B.N.E.C.? Maybe once for a try. It depends on the individual.
Without meaning to single anyone out, I imagine the Asian "high-roller" clientele will get a kick out of B.N.E.C. and might possibly wind up using the VIP rooms the most. The Koreans and Japanese like those private nooks, much like they have in their restaurants, but you never know how things will turn out in AC. Personally, I like prefer to spend my time in the actual main part of a club, right in the middle of all the action.
I imagine if you are in town for only a couple of weeks, and are just here to get laid multiple times by a variety of girls, B.N.E.C. might not be for you. You could persuade a member to haul you in as his guest if you wanted to have a look-see. (I received no information how the guest-policy works and if any specific restrictions apply)
If you are here for an extended trip, or live here, it might be worth a gold membership, if you appreciate the added value of the entertainment. It is definitely a nice place to be. Its merely a matter of money, but then again, isnt everything?