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Sutton (Tuset,13), the last frontier. Cross that line and it's either impress or die. A Rolex and Dsquared polo shirt would've given me a clear advantage. I spot a Barça handball player, a basketball player, a TV presenter! Upscale posturing of the finest calibre, this is the place to be. A night out in the 'zona alta', uptown Barcelona, on Carrer Tuset, supposedly home of the best Kobe steak. It's all or nothing, the ultimate prowl, but truth be told, nothing's happening. Nothing at all. I head back out and have the brilliant idea of checking out Bling Bling (Tuset, 8-10), a pulsating mass of VIPs and pale Carlton Banks clones. I feel like a sardine in a tub of caviar. The name of the place is no joke: serious bling here.
Universal (Marià Cubí, 182) is something else, its style inching away from the tip of the upper crust and a little closer to the world of mere mortals. A good shower, preppy polo shirt and loafers are enough to give it a try. Besides, I've begun to notice that around here there's a lot of bark and very little bite. I decide to check out Otto Zutz (Lincoln, 15) where I've been told that when things get hot, it's like winning the EuroMillions, but I don't even hit the Plus 5: impossible to compete with the overload of cool guys masquerading as streetwise gangstas. One last chance. Known as a legendary place to pull, Luz de Gas (Muntaner, 246) is always a good bet when seeking a bevy of possibilities. One thing to keep in mind though: this is veteran territory. More experience, less posing. The average age drops in the second room: same concept, but more hair and fewer crow's feet.
Taxi! Four gin & tonics and I have to take out a loan: uptown is cruel on the pocketbook, but no expense is in vain when so much is at stake. I head to the seafront. I've tried my luck with the local fauna and failed. It's time to try a new tactic. I'm a fan of CDLC (Pg. Marítim, 32), but decide to give it a miss. I'm seeking new challenges after all. Opium Mar (Pg. Marítim, 34) is like an astral voyage to the Ibiza of Botox. Everyone is on display, it's the stomping ground of chic, monied tourists who spend without fear. The heart of the dance floor is a pressure cooker scented in sex, sunscreen and expensive cologne.
I find the vibe at Shôko (Pg. Marítim, 36) a bit more relaxed, the crowd seems younger, and I like the decoration. It's a good place to labour away at winning over rich, international students. Someone tells me I should go to the Eclipse at the Hotel W (Pl. de la Rosa dels Vents, planta 26), a mega-luxurious club with a panorama to rival Roman Abramovich's birthday party: sculpted women, haute couture fashion, guys tanned to the eyeballs, famous athletes... I stare off into the distance, take out my iphone and call a taxi. It's time to go home, turn on the computer and let Sasha Grey take the sting out of my defeat.