Ride the Pony

At Rote Bar, Pony Club is all about the good times.

On The Town | Margaret Childs | May 2013

You’re at a club. Over the din you hear the first riff of that tune from way back when, that cheesy, heavy-rotation song from your teens. But hearing it now makes your heart beat faster. You just can’t keep your feet still…

Sound familiar?

The DJs at Pony Club understand.

Meet Katarina Cherabon, a freelance creative director, Georg Khittl, a photo editor at the fashion magazine First, Thomas Kirchgrabner, the head designer at the luxury fur label Liska, Ali Rabbani, costumer and stylist at Perfect Props, and Alexander Wallner, a graphic designer at First.

These are fun-loving fashion folk, out to make a party that people look forward to. Their credo: to "bring back the nights when you were dancing."


What makes a party

On club nights, the gang shows up at Rote Bar at 20:00 and starts blowing up balloons and inflatable ponies. The name and theme come both from Kirchgrabner’s Chinese Crested pup’s nickname "Pony" and the famous "My Little Pony". The now-sought-after inflatables disappear after every party. So they just get more.

The idea was to recreate the feel of the 1990s, "our childhood basically." Over drinks, Kirchgrabner and Rabbani reminisced about parties at "the Technisches Museum, Kinky Clubbing, Sofiensäle, Ronacher…", elaborate events, with extravagant decorations, with "so much effort put into one night." The Pony Club hopes to generate that same sense of anticipation.

Keeping the pony theme, they invite young artists to project visuals onto the ornate windows of the Rote Bar. This is not about being beautiful or stylish; what they value is good-natured vibe. "We have one of the few events in Vienna that doesn’t need any security at the door," Rabbani noted proudly. There have been no incidents at any of the 12 Pony Clubs. Maybe it’s the laid-back setting of the Rote Bar, all the pink ponies, or that people are too busy dancing.


Please don’t stop the music

"None of us DJs for a living," Kirchgrabner says unapologetically. "We each spin what we like and want to share."

They know this is nothing new, but that might be just what makes it unique. Not trying too hard. "It’s the kind of party that doesn’t really exist anymore. Not minimal techno, not monotonous, not too mainstream." While clubs like Pratersauna or Volksgarten have a loyal following of house, hip-hop and tech pop fans, they wanted to provide an alternative.

"Vienna already has a big scene for that," Rabbani said.

Nostalgia is an important theme, but not the only one. The "old stuff" is packaged differently, mixed with new things or reinterpreted.

At the February party, Rabbani played "100% Pure Love" by Crystal Waters – "that was the track in the 90s." Kirchgrabner uses songs like "Push It" by Salt’n’Peppa to get the same effect.

For the future, the group is thinking of having themed gimmicks for guests like offering free entry if you come with a moustache, for instance, or in red shoes. "And we’ll make sure you get the party your weekend deserves. "


Pony Club

10 May & 1 Jun., doors open 22:30 

Rote Bar (Volkstheater)

7., Neustiftgasse 1



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