The Venue: Mixtape 5 – Resurrect your stereo
Mixtape 5 has always been a club, mainly because of its size and location near the National Palace of Culture (NDK). The place has seen many owners, changed its name and music/audience style and preferences, but still remains among the top five choices of the general 18 to 40s population for a night out.
In its current iteration, the club is a meeting place for music lovers with an eclectic taste. Most are of the young Tom Waits persuasion, rather than Bono or Bryan Ferry. In the past year it has also become one of the rivals of the hugely overrated Sofia Live Club when it comes to live music and concerts. Now let’s get into the details.
This reincarnation of the club is the best so far. The owners have kept the wide entrance doors and also have provided their guests with a big enough lounge area and a wardrobe, so that people do not feel like they are on the early morning metro commute to work. This instantly boosts Mixtape 5’s score by at least 100 points.
Once inside, the feeling of enough personal space continues. There are two large bar areas at the opposite sides of the place and enough bar stools, arranged on two levels alongside the walls. The place also has several bar-like tables at the upper level for small companies that like to have their own space. The whole room is rectangular and the two levels of bars create some sort of a large pit at the centre of the premises.
When Mixtape 5 is empty, the pit looks a bit weird, but it was made in such a way that there is enough room for people to stand in front of the stage, when there is a concert. Yes, the place has an actual, decently-sized stage where local and international bands perform at least once a week. And when I say a decently-sized stage I mean a platform that fits easily a brass sextet, a swing-singing trio, a drum set and a piano without them looking and feeling like canned sardines.
Mixtape 5 offers a wide variety of beers and spirits, the unavoidable cocktails, all at a decent, average price. Combine this with the good vibe this place has and it turns into a very pleasant alternative of your favorite watering hole. The place gets to a whole new level when there is a live performance, so consider visiting it on one of these nights. Unlike most night clubs the music is never too loud, never too edgy, so most music lovers will enjoy it properly. On concert nights Mixtape 5 surprises with the quality of sound it provides. For comparison, try going to a live performance at Sofia Live Club and feel your ears bleed in pain from the screeching sounds.
The only downside of Mixtape 5 are the restrooms. Like many other bars, clubs and restaurants that otherwise provide good quality service and experience, Mixtape 5’s toilets are quite dirty, small and with their doors hanging on a prayer.
You will find your average bartenders pouring your drinks for you at Mixtape 5. While nice, smiling and polite, they are somewhat creatively challenged. So if you want a fancy cocktail, this is not your place. One unforgivable sin they commit against even simple mixed drinks is how they handle the gin-and-tonic combo (though they are not the only ones in Sofia to get it wrong and hand you some lukewarm gin in a small glass and some tonic with half a ton of ice in another, with the lemon slice missing altogether).
For your safety, Mixtape 5 has hired a bunch of rude, brainless bouncers, who will regard you as if you have tried to rob said bouncers’ grannies blind. So this is another minus for the place, but a big plus for your safety.
A great place for a night out, even better if you are looking for some quality live music or a small scale concert. Mixtape 5 has a tinge of uniqueness with a potential for growth and popularity. The place is friendly, predisposes to a jolly night out, is not expensive and if the munchies decide to strike unannounced, the 24/7 McDonald’s is only five minutes away.
Visit Mixtape 5 at 1 Bulgaria Blvd, the Lovers Bridge underpass.