Miss W’s blog: When did pre-openings become a thing?
As the second big wave of opening parties are currently sweeping the island this week, I couldn’t help but notice quite a few of the names cropping up on posters, flyers and social media seemed strangely familiar to me. I had to check myself, and go back over our clubbing calendar when I saw HYTE was celebrating its opening tonight. I mean… hasn’t that party been open for weeks, if not months, already?
ANTS at Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel hosted two ‘official warm-ups’ prior to their big opening extravaganza at the famed open-air venue, with line-ups every bit as big and exciting as their midsummer parties. Loco Dice had his own pre-season party in Pacha, as did Maceo Plex. And let’s not even go there when it comes to Carola – who actually had the balls to declare Music On open even a full week before Amnesia had ‘officially’ celebrated their mammoth opening fiesta.
This new pre-opening phenomenon is not strictly limited to clubs either. It’s common knowledge that Nobu Ibiza Bay Hotel is officially opening on Friday, but I know quite a few islanders who have already been there and done that, complete with a serving of that famous black cod. Tonight, I’m excited to be going for a preview dinner at the glamorous new SIR Joan Hotel – but it doesn’t actually open until tomorrow night. And just a few weeks ago, I was once again fortunate to sample the all-new El Chiringuito By Night menu – yep, you guessed it, at a special pre-opening event (by the way – I could not recommend it more highly. The Tomahawk steak – meat heaven. But I digress – that’s another blog entirely).
It’s tradition and plain old common sense of course for restaurants to try and test their new menus, recipes and systems out on their family and close friends – those people who will be honest with them and give genuine feedback, rather than gushing over a freebie meal for the sake of it. This, I totally understand and in fact, would always encourage and indeed respect. After all, nobody wants to go to the opening night of a restaurant only to discover they haven’t quite nailed the perfect sauce (ohhh, but let me tell you El Chiringuito certainly have! All six of them!) or the new kitchen teams aren’t working like a well-oiled machine yet. Practice makes perfect after all.
But advertising your pre-openings or warm-ups (and I’m not talking about the aforementioned restaurants here – all of which were done very tastefully, pun intended) is something that just doesn’t sit right with me. On one hand, yeah sure – I get it, you have to advertise in order to fill a club the size of Amnesia. But on the other hand, why not just call a spade a spade – or an opening an opening as the case may be – and admit you’re open for business from the first party date?
Alternatively – make it clandestine. The kind of party you have to hunt for. The kind of event you hear about on the clubbing grapevine and then all of a sudden everyone you know is there and it’s become the pre-opening shindig of the century – not to mention something to brag about on Instagram (who doesn’t love a 10 second video of Solomun shaking it in whatever pimping villa he’s picked for his out-of-season soirees?) and you’re gagging to get the pin-drop location from someone cooler than you who received the invite first.
I believe if you host a party or two in a major Ibiza night club and you are charging an entrance fee – you are open! For many years, there have been calls to ‘extend the season’, and it feels like perhaps these pre-opening parties are testing the waters in that respect. But in my little humble opinion… wouldn’t announcing earlier opening parties attract bigger crowds? Can of my friends in clubland shed any light on this marketing ploy for me? Miss L? Mr M? Errr, Señor Carola??