Crystal Palace
The club that is now Crystal Palace was originally started in December 2002 and was called Pick Up disco. This building was designed by Gerard of ABC Hotel fame and was the first bar in Angeles to incorporate 3 separate levels which customers could enjoy. The concept behind Pick Up was threefold. Firstly it was in some ways a showpiece for the uniquely designed furniture and fittings produced by Gerard and secondly it was the first non girlie bar establishment to unashamedly promote itself as a place to “pick up” girls who did not work there.

 
   
   
 

Location:

address: Real Street Balibago Angeles

Operating hours: 7pm - 4am

Website: www.crystalpalace-ac.com


   
   
   
 
Prices:
Item:Cost:
Local Drinks125p
Ladies Drinks150p
Double Ladies Drinks250p
Imported Drinks175p-400p
Customer tequila gold175p
Ladies Vodka Cruiser350p
Ladies Tequila Gold235p
Bell ring7,500p
Early Work Release2000-3000p

Prices Updated On: 2014-04-17
 
   
   
   

Thirdly and perhaps most interestingly this was the first large foreigner owned establishment to target the Filipino market and establish itself as competition for the back then very dominant SkyTrax. Gerard ran Pick Up for six months then handed it over to Horst from the Champagne group. When Horst passed away it was taken over by his son Ralf who redesigned it as a girlie bar and named it Heartbreaker. Heartbreaker had a short but turbulent lifespan and was soon sold to the DollHouse Group. The DollHouse group also bought Tom Cats next door and proceeded to convert this Real Street bar into a large dynamic establishment that quite frankly rivals if not surpasses most bars on Fields Avenue.
 
   
   
The stage

   
View from 2nd floor

   
Side seating

   
Pool tables
 

As a close friend of mine and AE member who used to manage Pick Up disco once said, “I think personally the DollHouse group did the best club makeover in Angeles History”.

Just as the original Crystal Palace was designed to showcase the achievements of industrialized England in the mid 19th Century this version was in many ways designed to showcase the achievements of the DollHouse Group. In my opinion they took an impressive yet somewhat dysfunctional building and remodeled it maintaining the impressive stature but at the same time adding functionality. The improvements in the current day Crystal Palace start right at the clubs entrance. Being a DollHouse Group Bar features a much improved entrance with the trademark banners on the outside and the assertive door girls all wearing colorful wigs. Personally apart from the attention grabbing factor I have never understood the colored wigs but then again they do not bother me at all and in a location such as Real Street they certainly grab customer’s attention.

Once inside the first thing that draws your attention is the stage full of girls which is off to the right slightly elevated and circular. This stage is cleverly placed so just about no matter where you are in the bar you can see the stage and the girls dancing there. This is a very important factor because it demonstrates that the designers realized the emphasis should be on the girls working the bar rather than on anything else. Secondly this is quite an achievement when you consider the bar has three separate levels and yet the stage is still the central point of focus even if you are on the third floor.

One thing I found interesting is the seating right in front of the stage. In this bar they have put a number of comfortable lounge chairs right in front of the stage which means that people tend to stay longer and enjoy a drink or two while they watch the dancers and their routines. The lounge chairs also mean that customers whose preference it is to have close contact with the girls can do so in comparative comfort especially when this is compared to the vast majority of other bars who have bar stools as their seating next to the stage.

As the second line of seating they have once again chosen to go with the lounge chair approach. The chairs are comfortable and large and are placed in a semi circle around the stage. The chairs are complimented by small tables which serve as a place to put your drinks. This design is somewhat unique for a go-go bar in Angeles but when you stop and think about it, the design makes a lot of sense. For example the seats encourage people to stay longer simply because they are so comfortable compared to the normal bar stool.


This means the bar always looks busy and since in the majority of cases “people go where people are” this is a handy device for drawing in more customers. The lounge chairs comfort factor is important when you consider the shows in their various forms will often go on for a good half hour and customers will be more inclined to sit and watch them and enjoy them if their seating is comfortable. Last but not least the lounge chairs create, for want of a better term, a more classy feel to the bar. This seating arrangement reminds me more of a piano bar than a go-go bar and as well as being more comfortable for the customers they are also more comfortable for the girls. This comfort factor is important because it facilitates easier social communication between the customers and the girls.

Behind the main row of couches is a back area composed of slightly elevated lounge chairs.This area backs onto the pool hall and the lighting here is slightly dimmer than the seating closer to the stage. The dimmer lighting gives customers and girls a chance to get more intimately acquainted and as such this seems to be a very popular area amongst the customers.

There is a separate section on the far right as you walk in the door. This area is also composed of slightly elevated lounge chairs and gives a great view of the stage and the entire ground floor. Being somewhat old school and having a natural inclination towards bar stools and high tables I had mixed feelings about the seating arrangements in crystal palace seeing both advantages and disadvantages but after having watched the bar operate on subsequent visits I have noticed how well the seating actually works. Customers feel more comfortable and actually tend to stay longer.

One thing I like about Crystal Palace is that it has a few what I refer to as “touchy feely” corners scattered throughout the ground floor and these are normally slightly away from the clubs main thoroughfare and dimly lit which allows a little more privacy with the girl of your choice

In the far left hand corner there is the wet bar area which at most times is sparsely staffed and yet they manage to churn the drinks out at lightning speed whenever this bar gets busy. The wet bar is well stocked with a large range of local and imported drinks and the bar tenders are not only efficient but knowledgeable as well. For example when I asked the bar tenders the clubs pricing criteria I was told straight away without her having to look anything up. I was slightly impressed with this and decided to test her further by asking her how to mix a number of cocktails. Once again to my surprise this particular bar tender knew the ingredients of at least five cocktails without having to look up the recipe best of all she was able to depart all this information while still running around getting peoples drinks ready. The wet bar area is fully stocked, staffed by professionals and has a number of comfortable bar stools from which people can sit in the background and just watch the goings on inside the club without having to rub shoulders with too many other customers.

On the far left is what used to be Tom Cats bar but it is now more like a pool hall and it provides entertainment for those who fancy a relaxing game of pool as well as providing an interconnecting walkway through to the DollHouse bar. The walkway through to DollHouse is a unique feature allowing customers easy access to two totally different bars without seeming to leave the building. This walkway through is an important aspect behind the success of Crystal Palace because it gives customers from Fields Avenue, which is the main thoroughfare of customer traffic, direct access to a bar that is on Real Street.

The stairs for the second level are at the far right of the bar directly next to the wet bar area. The second floor is another area composed of a series of comfortable couches all overlooking the main stage area. This is actually one of my favorite areas in this club because it allows you to view the girls from an elevated position and secondly there are normally less people up here so you can sit and chat with the girl of your choice in comparative privacy. The second floor also has a direct thoroughfare to the second floor of DollHouse bar and its pool table area.

There are several aspects to crystal palace that make this an attractive bar. For example the whole inside of the building is tastefully color coordinated with plush red and gold and this is complemented by the semi baroque light fittings and wall hangings. The use of gold paint really stands out in this bar for example it is the little things like the gold paint on the table stands and around the ceiling and around the bar top of the wet bar area that make all the difference. All of this is left over from the Pick Up disco and Heartbreaker days and are somewhat similar to the decorations in the ABC hotel. The decorations contribute to give this bar a feeling like no other bar in Angeles.

Another aspect of Crystal Palace I really like is the lighting. For example the spot lights for the girls on stage are high up so they do not generate heat and they deliver just the right intensity of light to the stage. There is also running rope lighting scattered throughout both levels of the club. This is a yellow lighting which perfectly compliments the Red and Gold color scheme. The lighting is very well thought out in this bar with just the right balance between bright areas and more dimly lit areas thus ensuring no matter what your preference you will probably find an area which you like in Crystal Palace.

Being part of the Dollhouse group this bar conforms to the attention to detail that is part of the groups trademark. For example the air-conditioners are all set at exactly 25 degrees and there is a thermometer on the wall to measure the temperature, the lighting is maintained and I am yet to see a light bulb go out without it being replaced almost immediately, the toilets are kept clean and functional, the music is just the right level and not ear splittingly loud, the seating is kept maintained, the decorations are constantly changed and kept up to date according to the time of year or a special event that will happen in the bar. The attention to detail in a big bar like this is truly impressive and certainly helps keep the customers comfortable, relaxed and enjoying their visit.

Being a Dollhouse group bar there is an emphasis on the show approach. The DollHouse groups philosophy tends to be to provide an entertainment package rather than just a bar full of dancing girls and drinking customers.Here at Crystal Palace they have a number of different categories ranging from the regular dancers through to five different show groups.The show approach does not particularly appeal to me however I must admit whenever I visit this bar it is busy and there seems to be many people who enjoy the various shows and the atmosphere they create.

Crystal Palace is a very interesting bar in that it is basically located on Real Street yet with the direct throughfare to DollHouse bar it has the easy access of a Fields Avenue bar. It also has the full support of the DollHouse machine including a large budget for the shows, costumes, drinks and salaries etc. This is a plush bar with opulant decorations, a carefully thought design which maximises the available space, an atmosphere that is a nice mixture between party time and simple business, an intriguing mixture between normal bikini clad dancers and specialized show girls, realistic drink prices and perhaps most importantly a host of beautiful girls everywhere you look. This is a great bar where there is something for everyone which goes a long way in explaining its popularity.

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