Beefcake. That's what Fitness Week at the club Amazonia was all about. According to the restaurant's art manager, it meant "fitness-themed" entertainment. However, all that could be seen were six hunks of meat flexing their muscles and taking off their clothes on Sunday night. Their performance thrilled female club-goers, while embarrassing the males.
Originally, LifeStyle had arranged for a female correspondent to cover the event. However, she backed out at the last minute, claiming to be tired. This was unfortunate, as she would have been far more comfortable photographing men wearing towels and g-strings. This correspondent was forced to swallow his pride and face the challenge of snapping shots of well-muscled, oiled young men.
It was an unusual form of entertainment, somewhere between male striptease and a bodybuilding competition. They opened the event with men parading out on stage with torches and what looked like an indoor fan cover. After laying the cage down on the floor and igniting it with alcohol, or some other flammable, clear liquid, they then danced around it in quasi-homoerotic fashion. Gross.
Later, the men stripped down to their shiny underwear and posed and flexed to compete for the title of Mr. Amazonia. They also danced and jiggled to win the affection of female spectators. The women hooted and hollered appropriately. No. 4, an 18-year-old, was particularly rambunctious and strayed out into the crowd for a more intimate experience. His antics did not help him to win the title, however. In the end, one guy was declared the winner and went home with the crown and a one-year membership at the fitness club "Uaild" (Wild).
Before the contest, spectators were invited to participate in a fitness-themed trivia contest, featuring questions that were easy for drunk people to answer. For example, the question, "Is it harmful to tan in a solarium?" was answered with an unsurprising "no," an easy answer to come up with at an event sponsored by fitness clubs. Each correct answer was rewarded with a free beer. Not too good for the abs, but appreciated all the same.
The club's interior is jungle-themed, featuring a waterfall, fake palms and ferns and a thatched-hut style bar. It's kitschy but entertaining. However, the staff is not nearly as pleasant as the surroundings. They are at best curt and oftentimes rude. The old man working the coat-check area was the only pleasant person there.
Likewise, the clientele is pretentious and unfriendly. Most of the customers are New Russians wearing overpriced, designer clothing from local boutiques, smoking cheap cigarettes and drinking expensive wine and cocktails. Only the women stray from their tables to dance awkwardly to the hip-hop on the stage or "diskotek," as the club owners refer to it. The menu is not cheap either. The only non-imported beer is Tri Medvedii at 68 rubles for half a liter. The other beers include European standbys like Carlsberg at 125 rubles for a half-liter and exotic imports like Spiritol Hemp in a bottle for 148 rubles. There is also an extensive collection of wine, liquor and cocktails.
The menu contains an extensive selection of dishes covering everything from Ukrainian borsch for 80 rubles and sushi with red caviar for 228 rubles. There was also veal for 760 rubles and a variety of salads for around 300 and 400 rubles.
14 Strastnoi Boulevard.
Hours: Noon to 6 a.m.