An extension of nightlife impresario Joe Russo's evolving hip-hop and soul tastes (Funky Buddha Lounge
, Sinibar), The Shrine pays intense homage to the famed club of the same name that afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti so spiritually popularized in Lagos, Nigeria that the African government took it out.
Split into two entities, a stage and mighty loft of a dance floor on one side (The Shrine proper), a VIP bottle-service lounge on the other (Coup d'etat), Russo's focused the pulse on music, rather than be-scenery.
The bartenders can be a little smug at times, and the cover charge can be a bit daunting ($20 on Saturdays), with bottle-service also ringing up ridiculous price tags ($220 for Bacardi). But the DJ-dance floor relationship is a thing of untainted beauty, Russo sparing no expense the way of sound or gold-sequined decor, introduced by a hallway ode to timeless record covers and stocked Tuesday-Saturday with top-notch local talent and an in-house dance troupe.
A budget-friendly cocktail list does exist at a $9 standard, depending on which political misfit you dig. The cherry-speckled "Mobutu" packs a fine Hennessy punch, should you be indifferent.
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Centerstage Reviewer: Gavin Paul