When it comes to fashion, Milan unarguably holds its own in comparison to European and overseas counterparts. When talking nightlife however, Italy’s core of commerce and design, struggles to earn a reputation at par with Euro clubbing hubs Berlin, Paris and London. Aldo Alessi – a Roman-born Milan-based entrepreneur – aims to raise the stakes in the fashion capital home to a nightlife scene where originality is seemingly hard to find, and the “right” crowd prefers to party abroad.
“The attitude towards nightlife and clubbing, is still very traditional here in Italy. The further you’ll go down south in the country, the more this becomes evident. You should think of vocalists with a microphone in hand, that call out the name of the table which orders a bottle of champagne,” says Alessi. The first-time club owner with a professional background in event management, is joined by two business partners and a crop of investors in his latest venture. His members club Apophis, opened its doors two weeks ago, and is part of a not so ordinary genre in a city where membership clubs, aren’t as diffused as in London or New York.
“I believe that we as Italians search for excellence in nightlife whenever we travel abroad, but at home we’re willing to settle for less. Then it also has to do with a type of laziness which defines many local entrepreneurs,” the Apophis founder comments, in response to the notion of Milan nightlife lacking innovation and fresh ideas.
The club, accessible to a lucky few, serves as a lounge bar on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays, whilst transforming into a proper nightclub from Thursday till Saturday. Rumor has it, that Kanye West Creative Director, slash founder of street-lux fashion brand Off-White – Virgil Abloh – would stage a DJ set inside the Milan venue on a once-per-month basis. When asked about this, Alessi was neither willing to deny or confirm said talk, which undoubtedly contributes to the hype surrounding the nightlife gem located within walking distance of Milan’s Duomo cathedral.
“We’re the only club in Italy to serve Beluga as the standard, unless another brand from our vast vodka selection is requested,” Apophis’ founding father shares regarding drinks containing vodka, served at the bar for €15 to €20 a pop. Specialty in-house cocktails of €60 – or more – are also made available inside the venue. Alessi is particularly proud of his partnership with Italian silverware manufacturer De Vecchi Milano 1935, which created a selection of custom bottle holders for the newly-opened nightclub.
Aforementioned club nights, carry musical themes ranging from hip hop to electronics and house. As far as becoming a member is concerned, you may buy your way into it at a €500 per year rate – upon approval by at least three Apophis members, that is – unless you’re an honorary member armed with one of the club’s gold-plated engraved passes. “We’ve distributed a limited amount of free, honorary membership passes. These memberships are lifelong, as these people serve as the foundation of our club. We’re targeting a heterogenous crowd made up of individuals active in the worlds of fashion, art, finance and law,” the man behind it all shares.
At present, the club is home to roughly 300 members. Calling in advance – also for members – is recommended by club staff, due to the venue’s limited capacity. A maximum of 150 people is granted access throughout club nights. 85 Individuals on remaining days. Currently, members may be accompanied by up to three non-members. During club nights, solely one out of three accompanying non-members is given entrance for free, while the remaining two are expected to pay a €30 entree fee.
After less than one month in business, Apophis is already thinking global. “The idea is to become a chain of membership clubs. In Italy, Milan will serve as our first and only location. Miami is up next.”
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