Bijou nightclub is striving to bring a touch of class to Ottawa’s nightlife.
Bijou, which opened in March, staff say they cater to mature professionals, and the glossy décor of the club, located at 129 Bank St (at the corner of Slater Street), adheres to an old Hollywood-glamour aesthetic.
“We are trying to keep it on a different level,” says an investor who wishes to remain anonymous. “We have a dress code and we want a different feel for the community.”
Every Thursday and Sunday Bijou will host a nights tailored specifically to queers – partiers can take in hot go-go boys and girls while sipping cocktails. However, Darya Dasha Chrenowski, director of marketing, says she’s not trying to compete with The Lookout’s long established Thirsty Boy Thursdays.
“Their Thursdays are reserved for more of a male audience. Ours isn’t; it’s a mix,” she says. “It gives a chance for females, lesbians and queers to come out and feel that it’s not exclusively for men; they can be included as well.”
She says Bijou staff have spoken with staff from The Lookout.
Markida Brown, Darya Dasha Chrenowski and Josh Karam sip libations at Bijou.
“We’re prepared to work with all the clubs and bars in Ottawa to try to work together and not compete with one another,” she says. “We want to build a stronger community.”
In addition to their flagship Thursday nights, Bijou will remain open late several nights a week, reestablishing the venue as an after-hours destination. The space was formerly home to Lotus Lounge and Club Soda, which hosted many after-hours events.
Investors say patrons can expect a yummy selection of cakes, cookies, and speciality coffee and tea. Fine cigars are also available for club-goers to enjoy -- outside, of course.
“People can continue dancing,” the investor says. “So when people are finished at other clubs they can come to Bijou.”
“We are planning on having some live entertainment at the after-hours events as well,” Chrenowski adds. “We’re a no-bias zone; we’re open to everybody. We welcome everybody and we hope everybody has a good time.”
Sundays at Bijou will feature workshops, fashion events and drag shows, Chrenowski says.
Ottawa drag veterans Markida Brown and Dixie Landers were on hand at Bijou’s VIP Thursdays sneak peek on Oct 18.
“It’s so nice to hear good music. It’s not the same four songs in 20 minutes,” Brown says. “Even if the club was empty it would still be a good time because of the set-up. The lighting is fantastic.”
Landers says Bijou's size makes for a more intimate night out.
“Thirty people in a bar like Edge or Lookout looks like it’s hollow and there is nobody there,” Landers says. “Thirty people here looks like the beginning of comfortable – 100 people looks like ‘Oh my god, what a fucking awesome night,’ and hopefully it is 100 of the right people.”
On Thurs, Nov 1 Bijou hosts a Halloween masquerade gala.