I am no great fan of night-clubs, techno music or dancing until the early hours. I much prefer a nice dinner and drinks with friends or my girlfriend. Perhaps it is an age thing, but in recent years my appetite for deafening music, over-priced drinks and and pulsing lights has decreased considerably from its peak in 1999/2000 when I was 20 years old. Living in the South of France, where good wine and good food abound has also probably hastened this process. However, as my girlfriend and I were on holiday and there was no work to worry about the next day, we thought we may as well enjoy the wonders of a night-out in Shumen.
In my time, I have been out in Beijing and Shanghai in China, Busan and Seoul in Korea and London in the UK. Therefore, I have seen my fair share of pumping bars and clubs – a few duds as well. For example, I was a huge fan of the Hongdae area of Seoul, which was simply full of bars and clubs populated predominantly by Seoul's student population. I was also a massive fan of the Sanliturn area in Beijing, which was always throbbing with westerners and Beijing's English-speaking population. If I am honest, I was not really expecting Shumen to compare too positively with some of the bigger bars and clubs I had seen in bigger and more glamorous cities. However, I found myself pleasantly surprised.
We started our evening at a very relaxed bar named the Arizona lounge. I am not sure where the name came from as there was precious little to suggest anything that would link with the south-west of the US. However, it was pretty good. We seated ourselves on a terrace outside and that was lit by some fantastically chic lamps. My girlfriend and her cousin enjoyed some very well mixed cocktails and I sank two or three cold bottles of cider. It was all rather nice and I was a touch disappointed to leave. However, we needed to move on to something more pulsating. So, we headed for Colloseum.
In general, I am no great fan of themed night-clubs. I find they rarely capture the mood they look for and offer poor entertainment value. For example, 'The Beach' in my hometown of Rotherham had staff wearing grass skirts and tiki torches at the bar, but never managed to convince anyone that it was anywhere except a cold industrial town in the north of England. Therefore, I was not impressed with the name of the place to which we were heading. Thankfully, it was not as bad as I imagined. The designers had not done the theme to death, so it was not too bad. It certainly did not evoke Rome though.
Once we were inside, it proved to not actually too bad. The bar was circular and in the centre of the club. We sat on stools facing it and ordered a bottle of whisky for 40leva (about 20Euros) that came with unlimited mixers. Sitting at the bar and looking cool (as cool as I could muster) was rather good fun. However, dancing was a little more difficult. For some reason, the whole floor of the club was covered in tables and stools – the majority of which were not occupied – leaving very little room to actually dance. This meant it was great to sit with your friends, but there was nowhere to bust any moves (Yes, I am using that phrase ironically). This idea was fair enough, except for the fact that the music was loud, you could not talk to each other. So, we spent two or three hours neither really talking nor dancing.
Enjoyed my night out in Shumen. The Arizona Lounge was fantastic and Colloseum was not at all bad. However, the fact that Colloseum didn't really define what we were supposed to do – should we dance or should we talk? - took a little lustre off the night.