On the most inappropriate use of the word “café” in a venue name…ever.

It’s very clear that Swedes love their coffee, but seriously damer och herrar (“ladies and gentlemen”)…are you entranced enough by your obsession to start naming everything “café”? Tell me if this looks like a café to you:

That’s what I thought.

This is Café Opera, the most prestigious club in Stockholm. Though very Swedish indeed, I can say first hand that it has absolutely nothing to do with coffee. It has a lot to do with real-life Swedish barbie dolls, top-notch DJ’s, bouncers that were probably fitted by Georgio Armani himself, men in skinny pants and super-fine blazers, and an overall vibe of ritzy-ness gently soaked in booze. Nothing like making my first glimpse at the Stockholm nightlife the most sought after venue in the city.

The bar…and absolutely elegant ceiling.

Several striking notes from the evening:

  1. You have to have an ego that’s at least 1.5x the size of your soul to work the door at Cafe Opera. The uniform is a full suit with cuffs, a gold Opera badge, secret FBI-style microphone, and an iPhone with the evening’s guest list loaded onto it. And don’t forget the “I’m-observing-you-but-am-also-hip-enough-to-help-you-land-a-chick-if-you-need-help” look. Because you’re that good.

    Can you pass go?

  2. In case you didn’t notice from the picture above, the interior of this venue is absolutely stunning. Mostly, this is because it is located in the  posterior of the very same Gothic building that houses the Royal Swedish Opera. I am determined to figure out what the elegant chandeliers, columns, and arches were once a part of, if not a dining hall where once rich Opera-goers finely dined. All Cafe Opera has to say about it is that, “History permeates the atmosphere in this heritage property.” No kidding. Overall, I had a mixed feelings about dancing my pants off in this place. While an extraordinarily unique vibe is created by the contrast of chandelier silhouettes through dance-clouds, pink and blue rave lights reflecting off the glossy sheen of painted angels—-I couldn’t help but think of the poor guy who painted the ceiling 200 years ago, and what he must be thinking now as we shake our asses to Swedish techno-pop remixes in the romantic cave of his mastery.

This is what Cafe Opera turns into. Actually quite amazing. Photo courtesy of my friend Lars Jansen’s iPhone.

3. HOLY FASHION. Remember those shoes you saw online and while you were looking for pair of boots that a) won’t look out of place on Church Street in Burlington and b) will actually hold up in Vermont winters…the ones that made you think, “Who would EVER…why do these exist…?”

Those shoes are here in Stockholm—-particularly in nightclubs. Women go all out, all the time. It’s like what going beast mode would look like in the urban fashion sense. Fierce. Men often follow up with casual distinction.

Most times, it’s enviable; these ladies and gents look slick and sexy, especially on the streets in the day. Yet come club time, I still find many of the styles laughably Euro. For Facebook users, I’ll leave you with this: Facebook album of super-Euro portraits (particularly the men…) from a student night @ Cafe Opera. For those of you without Facebook, this is what you’re missing out on:

+D.

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