CASH AND CACHET

Before The Bank, Washington's newest and ritziest nightclub, opens officially on Saturday, you may want to make a stop at your other bank first.

Everything about The Bank says money: the gilded columns and bankers' boxes, the faux- marble in the restrooms, the trompe l'oeil murals by Washington artists, the emphasis on chic attire -- and the drink prices ($3 for a Heineken is the low end).

Credit owner Bulent Ozkose, designer Greg Shuey and manager Russell Hirshon for transforming the 100-year-old Equitable Bank Building (at 915 Ninth St. NW, across from the 9:30 Club) into a stylishly spare and dramatic space.

No blinking, twirling disco lights here: Under the 30-foot ceiling, emerald lasers slice the air above the dancers, creating Spirograph patterns, animated figures and The Bank logo on the far wall. (The fascinating laser show was designed by Ron Alpert, who did special effects for "Alien"). A rose glow bathes the crowd, and over the single rectangular island bar a spotlight isolates a towering floral arrangement.

There is distinctive music on each of the three levels. On the marble dance floor, disc jockey Rocky spins an eclectic set of top 40 and Eurodisco. In the basement (the Greg Shuey Room) video sceens glow in a series of nooks and crannies. And there's jazz upstairs in the Board Room, a private VIP lounge with a neon-lit saltwater tropical fishtank and caviar-and-champagne menu. Opening soon will be the Vault, which seats six on leather Cadillac seats. The Bank, which will be open Wednesday through Sunday, will soon serve lunch daily and feature hors d'oeuvres nightly.

Expect a long Bank line, especially at Saturday's opening, with a doorman and a $10 cover charge ($8 on weekdays). Dressing up, we're told, may increase your chances of getting in.