Look, we know nightclubs aren't exactly supposed to be an alluring prospect in The Batman universe. Ever since Gotham's first depiction in 1939, the city's nightlife has been a place for crime and violence — not big beats and euphoria. We've got some pretty key examples of this: from scenes in The Dark Knight, Batman Beyond - even the Poison Ivy appearance in Batman & Robin. But as the story of our caped crusader takes a grittier, more realistic turn in The Batman - it appears Gotham's club scene has gone don a similar route. A large section of the new movie is set within the Iceberg Lounge, a decadent venue owned and operated by the infamous crime lord the Penguin. IRL, The Iceberg Lounge's interior was filmed at Surrey Quay's nightspot Printworks - a familiar and beloved nightclub for London clubbers in the know.
The thing is, in The Batman, our hero is spending a lot more time battling the venue security than actually just letting loose and enjoying himself, so it's particularly difficult to get a sense of if we'd want to go there. But fear not, through some rigorous sleuthing that would put the world's greatest detective to shame — we've got to the bottom of whether the Iceberg Lounge is worth a journey into the DC universe to frequent.
So for the investigation that Mixmag readers deserve, but maybe not the one you need right now... we investigated if The Batman's Iceberg Lounge would be a good night out.
Due to the city traditionally being based in New Jersey (Though 'Gotham' is actually a nickname for Manhattan), and the movie filmed mostly around the UK — in London in particular — the Gotham of The Batman feels like a mixture of both the Big Apple and the Big Smoke. Two cities with stellar reputations for both variety and debauchery in clubland, we're already off to a good start. The Iceberg Lounge appears to be situated within an industrial part of the city, beneath a massive railway bridge on the seedier side of town. An appealing prospect for a winged crime fighter? maybe not. But for keen revellers looking for some slamming techno in the wee hours? potentially. There are three factors we should consider when we look at a good club location: Being far enough from residential buildings so you can properly crank up the volume, transport links and a vibey community.
Firstly, in The Batman, it's indicated that there are apartment blocks surrounding the club, so without military-grade (or fabric-grade) soundproofing, it's pretty unlikely the pounding techno from within can't be heard from these homes. As far as Transport goes: The Iceberg Lounge seems to be serviced by the Gotham City taxi service — a collection greyish looking sedans that sort of look like if the bright yellow NYC cabs were in the "Upside Down" from Stranger Things. It's probably a no. Though, if we're being honest — it's rare that any character in The Batman is waiting longer than a few minutes before being whisked off into the night. Considering how long we were waiting for Ubers upon the reopening of nightlife this year... the convenience of being able to hail a cab in the middle of a night outside a nightclub is pretty enticing.
The local Gotham community though? We're not 100% sure. There's a pretty strong tradition of nightlife venues in The Batman but they aren't very community-focused, instead being a vehicle for the city's ner-do-wells to hide away from the law. While one of the constant battles throughout Batman lore for the Craped Crusader is wrestling with the sometimes problematic morality of the city he is trying to save — does that mean Gotham's residents would make selfish ravers? we simply cannot say. But hey! they are definitley a lively bunch.
We only get pretty brief snippets of the Iceberg Lounge's punters in The Batman, but from what we do see they seem pretty cool. Donning all-black, leather and chains - they resemble a pretty typical techno congregation seen in London or Berlin. So far so good. There's rarely a phone in sight throughout the multiple scenes in the venue. But the crowds can be heard screaming and whooping along with the music - even over some of the character's dialogue - in such a way that could only come from proper music fans. Likewise, the venue is pretty unknown to much of the city, with characters unfamiliar at its mention and having to dig around to find its location — so the Iceberg Lounge crowds are not only there specifically to let loose, but they are also managing to keep this industrial haven under wraps. This could be down to entry requirements of course. The two bouncers posted on the door refuse to allow anyone to enter without a password or connection to a patron already inside - reminiscent of those early 90s free parties where ravers avoiding the law would secretively share padlock codes to get into warehouses.
Yes, maybe Gotham has a reputation for having pretty shitty people live within its limits. Yes, with the reintroduction of the addictive, hallucinogenic drug "drops" from the Batman universe the crowd might be primed for a convivial night on the dancefloor. But for a crowd that big to be returning to the spot and somehow it still being the best kept secret in Gotham City? sounds like rave dedication to us.
Beyond the eerie horror synths, the brooding one-word declarations from Robert Pattinson's Bruce Wayne or the revving of the Batmobile — the real sound of The Batman has to be unrelenting techno drums. The Iceberg Lounge's prominent role in the events The Batman means you'll be hearing a pretty constant cacophony of slam. So, what is the music like in The Iceberg Lounge? if we had to describe it in three words we'd say: hard, fast and dark. Gotham's crowds are treated to a solid selection of underground bangers in the movie — there's some intense pounding by way of Baauer's 'Hot 44', cheeky basslines from Patrick Topping & Kevin Saunderson's 'Frisk', the grinding menace of Corvad's 'Tesla' and some movie exclusives from Peggy Gou and Alesso. The Iceberg Lounge's soundtrack packs a real punch, to the point where we'd probably not be able to notice Batman beating up a gang of henchmen on the balconies either.
Despite knowing full well much of The Iceberg lounge was filmed at Printworks, we have concluded that the club in the movie is a real mixture of different nightclub settings. The scenes in The Press Halls are of course a huge focal point — the massive venue is packed to the brim with dancers bathed in a ghostly orange light every time we get a look at it. Make no mistake, this part of the club is a good old fashioned rave.
Despite the pumping techno soundtrack (see above) and the obvious location in one of London's most iconic nightspots, the Iceberg Lounge is more of a hybrid between a burlesque lounge and an underground warehouse club. A notable addition to the famed dancefloor are huge 30ft platforms adorned with dancers. The operational cage at the very top of the venue has been transformed into a sort of art-deco lounge full of mahogany furniture where the owners can look down upon the crowd and bark orders at the various waitresses milling around (which we know means one thing, table service). Now in the real world would it be feasible to cross a gentleman's lounge with a 6,000-person capacity nightclub... probably not? But, this is supposed to be a fantasy venue after all and not a place that has to navigate the logistics and health and safety rules of the real-life Printworks. The venue that exists within The Batman is everything that we find familiar about a nightlife venue but also something that couldn't exist in reality — so of course, we'd want to try it out.
The overall experience
So overall, would we want to go to The Iceberg Lounge? Well, it's a yes and a no. The club is both everything that makes a venue unappealing: Being too close to people's homes, having so/so transport links and table service! (no thanks). But it's also packed to the brim with everything we find so impossibly alluring — it's got slamming techno bursting through the brick work, a dedicated crew of ravers and an expansive warehouse venue, primed to lose yourself within. There's a couple of cheesy tropes present in the Iceberg Lounge for sure (the dancing girls, the old gangster owners swigging brandy in a games room) but we reckon the average punter is having an absolute blast. I mean, any rave that requires a password to get in has to be incredible right?
The Batman is in cinemas on March 4, get tickets here
Megan Townsend is Mixmag's Deputy Digital Editor, follow her on Twitter