Having recently arrived back from Sydney, Australia, with a head blown out from over indulgence, I have to say a visit to Instinct was less than inspiring. I have never been a fan of the Cork scene: the commercial venues either suffer from a lack of support or poor management, the non-commercial venues suffer from a tendency to cater only for their existing clientele rather than make an effort to reach out into the wider gay community. But compared to Sydney, this really showed up. Interestingly enough though, I find the straight club scene in Cork as dreadful as the gay one, though again the pub scene is not that bad. I think this may spill over onto the expectations there are for the gay club scene.
With "the club" more or less gone (correct me if I'm wrong here), few once off events happening in really nice venues such as the Liquid Lounge and Opera House, and very limited competition coming from newcomers like Rubys, Instinct really has gone downhill. I expected a lot better of the so-called "upgrade" that it apparently received in early January, though the revamp of the toilets are really really good.
But the music has to be one of the worst DJs imagineable - aside from a very inconsistent "flavour" with multiple styles just interposed in the DJ sets, the floor-killer habit of turning off the sound and slowing down and stopping the music just when everything is hopping is really annoying if you're trying to dance. Saturday night was particularly awful in this regard.
What is happening with the cloakrooms? Why was there a constant queue of at least 20 people in front of the cloakroom, blocking the inner bar entirely and causing major people congestion in the middle of the venue? People appeared to have had to queue for more than 30 minutes to check their coats in, and I dread to imagine for how long people had to wait at the end of the night. This is quite simply poor management.
Secondly, the dangerous level of broken glass that was simply left uncleared. I witnessed at least 3 patrons dropping glasses and on not a single occasion did the bar staff make any effort to clean it up - this was a serious health hazard that if continued, will come back to haunt the Rebel Bar Group.
What, by the way, is the point of the levels of lighting effects and dry ice? No amount can obscure the inadquate level of walking space or compensate for poor DJ-ing. Plus much of the ice seems to find its way into the toilets, giving them that lovely bathhouse effect (though admittedly there is a lot of the bathhouse about the ladies loos, hang about there long enough and sure enough some UCC student or other will probably pounce on you).
I don't recall Instinct having these problems with managing numbers when it started out in the old Patrick's St venue, they seem to be unable to cope with large crowds. There is very definitely scope for an alternative on a Saturday night, and I would guess that somewhere with good music (as we had in the past with the old Workout in the Savoy and various other club nights) would provide badly needed competition for Instinct as it currently stands.