Santos Party House’s Friday-night situation has been a little dramatic lately. The club’s weekly fete OPEN–featuring Q-Tip, Rich Medina, and Vashtie–seemed to be doing immensely well, even winning Paper Magazine‘s nightlife award for “Best Party” (for whatever that’s worth). But then, in November, Rich Medina got the boot (and was very angry about it), Q-Tip soon followed (though not as angrily), and Vashtie, ostensibly the event’s host, just kind of disappeared. But within a few weeks–and with several hundred patrons anxiously awaiting its return–OPEN was resurrected and christened reOPENed, starring DJ Soul and hip-hop super-producer Just Blaze, while Federation Sound’s Max Glazer, DJ Gravy, and MC Micro Don took over the basement with reggae, dancehall, and soca, now making the two floors of music most certainly worth your $10 at the door (expect to be charged $20 when it’s busy). While the cast of characters has certainly changed, the scene this past Friday night proved that two things remain: the line and the women.
Almost all the ladies fit into two categories: The first never left the main floor and were nothing but hair, nails, and especially legs, partially due to the length (or lack thereof) of their dresses and skirts, presumably making their summer debuts. Jeans were painted on and paired with heels that made me feel short at five-foot-seven, hands were wrapped around some fruity cocktail (or a bottle of vodka), and arms were linked with girlfriends or a smartly dressed male companion. The humidity had no effect on anyone, and almost everyone danced along to the mix of Top 40 hip-hop and r&b that blared above. (Though we did catch one guy crouched down underneath the stage, texting.)
Downstairs is a different scene altogether. The women remain, this time in leggings and shorts. Staying comfortable seemed to be the M.O. here with crop-tops, tank-tops, and sweat-soaked T-shirts reigning supreme. Sneakers, flat sandals, and funky pumps replaced their stiletto’ed counterparts upstairs (beware of being stepped on regardless). Reggae and dancehall played over a completely packed dance floor filled with groups of girls swatting off the men like flies. Women, take note: Standing is not an option in this mix, and be prepared to be leered at and pulled by the waist to whine up against strangers–“daggering” is an actual, well-accepted dance move among some patrons. (I escaped back upstairs after my own personal experience with one such fellow.)
Around 3 a.m., things were winding down, as expected for a party that has a line outside by 10 p.m. Guest-DJ Clark Kent played a short Biggie tribute set in honor of the legend’s birthday, while a group of guys abandoned their dates to rap at each other in front of the stage. Minutes later, Biggie gave way to a mash-up of AC/DC, Def Leppard, and Nirvana–you can probably guess the songs. The sudden switch to rock prompted one woman in the VIP section to hang off the railing and headbang, while another used the time to sit down and massage her feet. “This kind of thing was totally normal at hip-hop parties a few years back,” mentioned one onlooker, noticing our surprise. “AM and Z-Trip used to do it.” We weren’t mad about it to begin with.