True to its name, the latest addition to the glitz of Gongti offers partygoers a plethora of games, art and collectibles alongside its massive dose of hip-hop. On entering Playhouse, meet an area littered with dice cups, shisha pipes, beer pong tables (word is the venue plans on becoming an official location for the International Beer Pong League) and a hollowed-out bus used for poker. If you haven’t had enough of these college classics by the time you head inside proper – or by the time you left college – you'll find more of the same, with the addition of dartboards making it the only Gongti club that doubles as an adult game centre.
Playhouse also wants to keep things artsy, and boasts a massive collection of faceless figures of hoodie-clad men and giant monkeys mounted all over, which culminate in a 20-foot statue towering over the dance floor. Graffiti covers any leftover exposed wall, as does a giant reworking of da Vinci's 'Last Supper' featuring a who's-who of hip-hop stars as the Twelve Disciples, and Tupac as Jesus. It’s understated décor, as per Gongti usual.
Playhouse's faceless men.
There's even an eclectic museum of the owner’s personal stash upstairs, featuring everything from Chanel to Pharrell collectibles and over 600,000RMB worth of limited-edition items from label Supreme, including one of only two Supreme-branded guitars in China (the other is owned by an unnamed celeb; we want to believe a certain Xi shreds it).
And, of course, what we've all been waiting for: a Gongti club with its very own gift shop. Playhouse will soon be launching its own merchandise line with shoes, shirts and jewellery for their fans, which seems to include all the most stylish gangsta rap fans in town.
Although we don’t yet know the pricing on those items, the club does have the cheapest bottle service on the strip, with bottles of vodka and gin going for 500RMB, plus a 7-Eleven-style refrigerator section housing over 240 different types of drinks; there’s an assortment of affordable fried snacks too, to help absorb some of that alcohol.
It’s especially affordable for girls, whose cover charge is always cheaper, even for the big acts they bring in – and they’re doing a good job of that so far. Standouts include Kendrick Lamar collaborator Knxwledge, alongside Beat Junkies turntable lord J Rocc, plus DJ Wordy and trap up-and-comer Rico Nasty. Jaden Smith (as in Will Smith’s son) even turned up in October. Playhouse is working hard to replace Mix as the go-to hip-hop club in Beijing, and with so much going into it, we can’t help but hope they succeed.