Dobermanns in diamond collars, blindfolded men in suits, and glamorous women shooting money guns: welcome to Mafia Vero, a private game club in Dubai.
The minimum buy? $900 (AED3,300) a game.
“Get adrenaline from games, drink a glass of your favourite drink, make useful acquaintances,” says Mafia Vero founder Sergey Iskander on his Instagram account.
He set up the private club in 2011 to turn the Mafia board game into an exciting reality. The original game assigns players to roles of Mafia members or civilians, and instructs them on how to best eliminate the other team.
But for the private club in Minsk, Moscow, and Dubai, there’s a catch: only Russian speakers are allowed in.
According to Iskander, the club’s purpose goes beyond gaming, and focuses on bringing together the Russian social and business community.
“Imagine that 20 families were created thanks to the meetings in the club,” says Iskander on the club’s website. “But the gatherings aren’t just for personal purposes. The club proved that the mafia is useful for business, because the game unites,” he adds.
Mafia Vero’s Instagram bio describes the club as “unusual, fun and stylish”.
A representative told Frankly the club has “Conducted more than 50,000 games in different cities and countries.”
In Dubai, the games are hosted in Russian restaurants like Suvoroff on The Pointe, complete with hostesses and fake props like guns, money, and playing cards.