The Obama aims to change Shanghai's clubbing scene
By Royston Chan, Reuters
April 29, 2010, 11:21 am TWN
SHANGHAI -- Change is coming to Shanghai's nightlife, thanks to Obama.
The U.S. president has yet again unofficially lent his name to a place of entertainment, this time The Obama Club, one of Shanghai's largest entertainment venues which aims to revolutionize the city's thriving clubbing scene.
Designed by Las Vegas-based club and resort designers Cagley and Tanner, who are behind the Bellagio's Salon Prive, The Obama Club is a massive 6,000 square meters (64,580 square feet).
It comes complete with pole dancers, hostesses as well as state-of-the-art audio and video systems in a city was once dubbed the "Paris of the East" for its glamorous lifestyle, but also the "Whore of the Orient" for it decadent ways.
Its owners say the nightclub can sit more than 2,000 guests and though its name was not initially inspired by the U.S. leader, his rallying cry for change before his 2009 election made the name stick.
"We had thought of all kinds of names but then, by coincidence the radio was on and we heard some news about Obama. So we thought this name was quite good. We just felt it was easy to say and was controversial enough," Dragon Chiang, vice chairman of Shanghai Yahe Investment and Management Co. Ltd, one of the owners, told Reuters.
"Because Obama mentioned 'change,' we also hoped that this nightclub, a pinnacle of culture and entertainment, can be an instrument of change," Chiang added.
The popular U.S. president's name has been used as a drawcard by clubs, pubs and restaurants in many Asian cities.
But some Chinese said the club was impressive enough without the name gimmick.
"I feel that the name Obama is nothing special, because anything to do with Obama is pretty popular now," said club-goer Lu Difei, 24.
"But I feel the design and facilities here are very good. The atmosphere and music are great. Also, there are four big video screens here and this is something I have not seen at nightclubs in Shanghai."