The Torture Garden club is a fetish club catering to adults. It has been running since 1990 and is now the world's largest club of its kind. It is open to anyone into the fetish scene, the body art scene, and/or the BDSM1 scene. Main events are held approximately every 4-6 weeks, regularly selling out with a 1,200 capacity.
The Dress Code
A fetish club can be likened to an adult fancy dress party. There will be nobody at the club dressed in normal clubwear. The main dress code runs along the following lines:
Fantasy Fetish - Anything from the wildest of dreams, made out of PVC, latex, rubber or anything else it's possible to have a fetish about.
SM - Dominatrixes, submissives, slaves.
Drag - Men dressed as women, women dressed as men.
Cyber - Anything similar to the Borg from Star Trek will do.
Medical - Naughty nurse outfits, dirty doctors in white coats or theatre scrubs, or wounded patients.
Uniform - Headmasters, military, school boys, police officers.
Theatrical and Burlesque - Acrobats, magicians, exotic dancers, strippers, belly dancers, anything obscene or bawdy.
Often there is a theme for individual events ie, 'red' for the Valentines Ball, or 'beach party' for a hot summer's night. Upcoming themes include a Japanese night and a Halloween night. Sometimes it is easier to dress for the theme, as fantasy fetish clothing can be very expensive. A lot of people attending make their own outfits, so being dressed the same as someone else is very unlikely. Many people take their outfit in a bag and change when they get to the venue.
Torture Garden does not have its own venue, but alternates venues for their events among a few select clubs, most notably Mass, The Ministry of Sound, Fabric, The Complex and The Aquarium. Most events are in London, although Torture Garden has taken shows to other towns and countries, most recently Sheffield, Moscow and Tokyo. Each event is advertised on the website if you need to know the venue.
The venues are divided up into five main areas:
Club Zone - This is the zone to go to for the music as well as the atmosphere. Drum 'n' Bass and Hard House are normally being played by the DJs at extremely high volume.
Chill Out Room - This is a place to go where it is cooler than the rest of the club, and there are seats to rest and relax on. Unlike other clubs, however, there may be sexual activity going on.
Performance Lounge - Most of the performances are here. Shows are put on throughout the evening, although visibility is very limited. The shows come under one of three themes: fashion, music and performance.
Eclectic Cabaret Lounge - This could be seen as the 'main' room in the club, as shows are put on here, as well as in the performance lounge, and the DJs seem to have more of a feel for the crowd. Here you will find seats to rest on, room to dance, a place for the photographer to take shots of anyone willing2, bars, and most of the many visual shows.
Dungeon and Fantasy Playroom - The dungeon/playroom usually has two guest Mistresses and is filled with SM equipment. At the start of the evening, the room is usually quiet, but as time goes by the equipment fills up and people start to enjoy themselves.
Moving between the different areas is easy, and it can feel like each zone is a separate club. Each area has its own DJ and distinct sound, and is decorated with slideshows and silent videos projected onto backdrops.
Within a fetish club environment, there is freedom for each person to explore their own sexuality, but at the same time there are rules and codes of conduct for behaviour. Touching anyone else without permission, or any form of harassment is strictly forbidden. Prejudices are not allowed in the club, and assumptions about other people is not recommended.
Etiquette is especially important in the playroom, be considerate at all times, and be careful where you stand or walk. If people are using the equipment the last thing they want is someone being hurt accidentally.
Although interaction between players and watchers is not banned, don't assume that because someone is playing they will want you to join in. Fetish clubs are not singles nights, they are usually attended by couples or groups. If you spend some time watching, you will see that some couples are happier left alone, while others players are keen for others to join in. Always ask politely and accept a 'no' when you hear it, as others will give you the same privilege.
The small sister club to Torture Garden, Club Flesh was started in 1999 and has recently (at the time of writing) been moved to a new venue, Cynthia's, at London Bridge. Unlike main Torture Garden events, it is in the same place every month, and is much more intimate, with about 400-600 people attending. It includes a fetish restaurant that has to be booked in advance and paid for separately. At £17.50 per head (again, at the time of writing) it is very reasonably priced, as the menu includes some unusual dishes, and always includes a 'surprise' dessert. A menu can be found each month on the Torture Garden website under 'Club Flesh'. There is entertainment in the restaurant, which consists of two dominatrixes and their slaves, fetish-dressed waitresses and submissive table clearers.
Club Flesh is a different experience, as it has its own DJs, visuals and performers. The venue is also very different, being classed as a cyber bar, and having a wider range of drinks than most dance clubs.
Although the club is not members only, it is worth joining if you are likely to visit often, as it comes with a regular newsletter and a minimum of a £3 discount on each event, which usually costs £15.