Nightclub––a place that is open at night, has music, dancing, or a show, and usually serves alcoholic drinks and food––is one of the features of the leisure grid of contemporary capital cities. From London to Lagos, Cairo to Cape Town, New York to Nairobi, visitors seeking a taste of the local nightlife would ultimately pop the question: What is the name of the best nightclub in the city?
In Lagos, if you go looking for a nightclub, you have to be discerning, otherwise, you could end up with a parody. That was the trap a friend found himself in two weeks ago. He had won a big payout on sports betting in the opening week of the English Premier League. A huge jackpot. All he wanted was a decent night-out, an epic way to end the week, for him and his cronies. They had in mind a bacchanalia––and a nightclub fitted the bill––somewhere on mainland Lagos. Where else should they look to for a hangout but Ikeja, the hive of Lagos’ nightlife?
With great expectations, they went to a club on Allen Avenue that was highly recommended; alas, they returned home in the wee hours of the morning disappointed and depressed.
“The so-called club was worse than a brothel in Ajegunle; for all its name, that hangout (name withheld) was filled with all sorts of misfits. You have prostitutes crawling all over the place and drunks pestering people for money. And the music was obnoxious. The DJ would be better off as a farmer,” he railed.
For the group, the outing at the club was an anti-climax––a waste of time, money and energy.
Too often you hear similar outpourings of complaints from disgruntled fun-seekers. Like the mythical lotus-eaters, they had set out in search of a pleasurable evening, a quest for good company, decent carousing and euphoric hangover. At the end of the day, the experience fell short of their expectations. But for connoisseurs of the “Lagos’ good life”, it is no sweat finding the right place. The city of Lagos brims with bars, clubs and restaurant (run-of-the-mill type or the deluxe variety) and clubbing is part of the leisure culture. Therefore, finding the joint that gives the vintage experience––the high-end hangout with swanky ambience and first-class customer service––shouldn’t be tasking.
In a city with myriads of clubs, one stands head and shoulder above the rest: Club Quilox.
Located at Ozumba Mbadiwe Road, Victoria Island, Club Quilox is the city’s “Cathedral of Leisure,” a mecca for pleasure seekers. Much of its reputation stems from its perceived status as “biggest and most expensive club.” The word is that you have got to have a fat wallet to be counted among the club’s legion of well-heeled patrons. Just how fat should your wallet be? The response from the grapevine is at best obfuscatory, as varied as they come, they imply that to be a regular customer, you must belong to the ultra-rich stratosphere or you are simply an incurable hedonist. Empirical findings, on the other hand, skewed towards being a young person––or young at heart––or someone who craves good and qualitative leisure.
True or false, that is the Quilox mythology, a part of its allure. The other half is its magic of reinvention which has kept its reputation intact as Nigeria’s priciest nightclubs since its opening in 2013.
Quilox is a club in perpetual metamorphosis. It shuts down and reopens seasonally. It runs on a season calendar. Like major football leagues around the world, the nightclub goes on a one-month break every year, to re-package, re-structure and re-invent, then reopens a new season with a brew of razzmatazz and grand talk-of-the-town parties that are too good to miss. The club is presently in Season 7, which started on June 7. This cyclic reinvention is one of the factors that keep its legion of patrons perpetually enthralled.
Quilox is a party paradise. Parties, parties, parties are its most defining, unmatched essence. On December 22, 2018, it kick-started a 36-hour party that doled out N1m bounty for the last man standing. Week in, week out, it hosts themed parties such as Casual Sunday, Sapphire Saturday, Luxury Friday, Traffic Light Wednesday (or a variety called Lipstick Wednesday).
The third month of 2019 was devoted to the March Mayhem parties. Its catalogue of parties also includes Playboi Party and Spook Fest, its version of Halloween party. Aside from its themed parties which are opened to all and sundry, the club also holds weekly full-capacity private shindig.
Viewed from outside, the Quilox edifice dominates its environment, but exudes a calm aura––its charms are within: impeccable designs and finishing; stunning, novel, surreal décor; unique over-the-roof sound system; best nightclub furnishing and equipment. The club, carved into multiple floors, with dozens of customized VIP lounges, is accessed via multiple entries and exits points. The ambience is picturesque, a perfect backdrop for picture-perfect Instagram photos. The VIP section is the preserve of the deep pockets, usually regular patrons and friends of the club. Guests include mostly musicians, socialites, footballers and politicians––at the last count, at least, three governors had visited the hangout while they were in office.
The bottom line is that Quilox embodies luxury; this, in turn is reflected by the quality of its clientele.
Patrons love Quilox for the one-of-a-kind glitz and glamour it brings to nightlife. Star-struck patrons often get the opportunity to hobnob with their idols, from Banky W to Denrele to rave-of-the- moment celebs, such as Burna Boy and other A-listers. Add to the mix a corps of resident and guest DJs, and you’d get an insight into while the club is like nectar that attracts the nouveaux riches and the jets set crowd.
The demography, however, is diverse and eclectic: young and old; male and female, celebs and professionals. The diversity belies the widely-held belief that Quilox is an “ultra-exclusive nightclub.” It is a party hub. It hosts some of the biggest parties; it is a lifestyle club and a stalking ground of the biggest celebrities and socialites. Blending in with its youthful stew requires some discerning.
TIMEOUT visited the club at 9 pm, Monday, August 26 and found Quilox humming on a low key. Regular night crawlers love to close their nocturnal outing at Quilox, arriving in droves between 3 am and 5 am, after moving around hangouts in the city. At weekends, the Quilox primetime peaks at 3 am and ebbs at 6 am. At this peak time, the road adjacent and the space around the club is clogged by posh cars and a shoal of female escorts hanging outside the club, waiting for big breaks.
A few patrons gave TIMEOUT mixed reviews. “You won’t meet riffraff there,” says Uche Onwuachumba. “And there can hardly be any untoward incident while you are there. Quilox has a name and it is the nest of ‘big boys’.”
Quilox is a status club according to Sesi Adedoyin, a blogger and owner of a tech upstart in Computer Village. “Almost everyone there every club night knows each other,” he claims. “Na people wey get money dey go there.”
And from Stephen Dumeh: “You must look like you have money. If you don’t, you won’t be allowed to enter until maybe early in the morning around 2 am. Generally, they know their customers, people who frequent the club. But, you could also just walk into the club and have fun.”
Quilox has no entry fee. In other words, it runs a free-entry policy. There are strings attached, however. Bouncers sometimes admit based on self-recognition. “And in this, appearance matters, ability to spend big on drinks and the propensity to tip the bouncers also work,” supplies Dumeh, 36, a sports analyst who has easy access based on self-recognition.
Not everyone at Quilox is a party freak. A few are there, especially at daytime, to savour the Quilox experience by visiting the club’s restaurant which runs from morning to evening. The offerings majorly served a la carte, include both local and intercontinental menu. If your taste bud is not attuned to exotic gastronomy, you would find the restaurant’s ‘native pot’ of Afro cuisine very much to your taste as it is dominated by local soups: Edikang-ikon. Afang. Ogbono. Egusi. Afia efere (white soup). Efo riro. Banga. Okro. Bitter leaf.
Much ado about Quilox being pricey. How costly is an outing at the club? “It’s a very expensive club for rich people,” Dumeh reiterates. “Anything above N100K will give you a good time.”
A patron, responding to the question, holds up his receipts: N165, 000.
The price of drinks outlined in the teller gave a good cue.
The price of a bottle of beer, taken at the bar side or regulars area in the club, ranges from N2, 000 to N3, 000; spirits, champagne, red wine are costlier, from N30,000 a bottle to as high as N500, 000!
“Don’t be surprised if your order of one bottle of Coca-cola with ice cost you N1000 or more,” says the customer who declined to give his name. “The tariff inside the VIP lounge is even higher,” he adds.