Every single thing you’ll find in your tragic hometown club
Yes, the smelly carpets and dancing podiums are in here
British clubbing is a real rite of passage. From the first time you pay your friend’s brother a tenner to use his ID, you’ll be going back every week.
But why? We always know what to expect – after all, every single nightclub in the UK shares a list of traits which make our lonely isles just that little bit more tragic than anywhere else.
These are all the things you’ll find in every shitty British club, every single Friday and Saturday night.
A red carpet rolled out at the entrance (unironically)
Do not be fooled: you are not about to enter somewhere glamorous.
A really shit logo above the door
Said logo will be silver and extremely shiny, in the sort of font usually reserved for posters for bad early ‘90s science fiction film posters.
It will probably be in a silver oval, it will probably be lit up from behind in neon lime or lilac, and it will probably declare the club’s name as Envy or Fury or Flame or Chance, or something equally banal.
A smelly carpet
It smells like sick. Or, more accurately, it smells like that sick-like smell you get from a hoover if you use the hoover to hoover up sick and then leave it for a while.
The smell of bleach
It’s for the sick.
Generous drinks offers
***BUY FOUR SELECTED DRINKS AND GET YOUR FIFTH ABSOLUTELY FREE***
Shots served in really novelty ways
They might come on a board. They might come from a test tube. They might be served from a tray by a shot girl who hates her job. The only thing they definitely will be is overpriced.
A shuttle bus parked outside
The bus has ferried chanting teenagers to the club from the town centre for two hours already, and the pain of listening to chants about being aboard the banter bus is etched into to the driver’s face.
He sucks morosely on his cigarette, remembering the days when he used to be a roadie for Squeeze.
A cloakroom which is always too risky to use
It’s like a coat lottery. You check your jacket in and get given a raffle ticket – then, three hours of dancing and 45 minutes more queueing later, you get given a completely different jacket back.
Even if it’s not anything like your actual coat, it’s best to keep quiet. Better to steal someone else’s than go cold, after all.
A spike for receipts at the entrance
Why don’t they just put the receipts in the bin? We guess we’ll never know.
A tall canvas logo background in front of which awkward photos are taken
Dani, Dani, get all the other girls – I need a new cover photo and I’m wearing my new playsuit.
An R&B room called The Lounge
You don’t really go in there – you prefer the cheesy disco hits they play in The Attic.
There might be a cage on it; there might be a pole. Regardless, you will dance on the podium and pretend you’re doing it ironically. By your second hour of slut-dropping, there’s nothing ironic about it.
Brown slip-on shoes stick out everywhere from slightly bootcut blue Levis. Brown slip-on shoes shuffle awkwardly to Sean Paul on a chequerboard dancefloor.
Two men are fighting outside after closing and someone’s brown shoe has been flung off and is damp in the gutter.
Also, a chequerboard dancefloor
People dance on it in their brown shoes and blue bootcut jeans.
Approximately 90,465,204 litres of fake tan
Someone bangs into you at the bar and suddenly you’re slathered in Sun Shimmer and smell like biscuits for the next three days. To be fair, we all want to get that natural mahogany glow in the depths of winter.
A guy you used to go out with in Year 9
This is the only place you’ve ever seen him in real adult life. But he is always here. Every time you come, there he is by the bar in a red tartan shirt and brown slip-on shoes. Does he live here? You’re afraid to ask.
He nods at you and you nod back and are silently grateful you moved away and never let him finger you.
Bottles of K2
It’s like VK, but it’s cheaper and makes your mouth taste like a trash compactor the next morning.
A bouncer who knows your dad
“How’s your dad” George is asking as he waves away your ID. “Yeah he’s good.” “This is Paul’s eldest, hey, Raffo! Raffo, this is Paul’s kid.”
You nod at Raffo, who for the first ten years of your life was billed as “uncle Raffo” because he used to work with your dad on some scaffolding when they were both 19. “How is your dad” says Raffo. “Yeah, he’s good.” “Nice. Tell him I was asking about him.” You mumble “yeah, I will” while Raffo is called away to deal with someone who’s just projectile vomited on the pavement.
How else are they supposed to sustain £3 quad vods?
The brightly coloured “liqueur” of choice at every shit club. There’s a reason it only costs £1: the alcohol percentage is dismal and the sugar content is through the roof, but they’re undeniably the staple of every college student’s first nights out.
Gold flake vodka
It tastes like Christmas. As in, a sickly reminder of your regretful youth which isn’t worth having more than once a year.
‘Cocktails’ made from unrefrigerated Sunpride juice
That’s not a cocktail. Lucy at the bar might tell you it’s a cocktail but really it’s just some Sunpride and a quad vod. It made you feel really classy when you were 16 but now you just throw up some questionable colours at the end of the night.
Really, really sticky bar surfaces
The bar will be covered with black rubber mats which are meant to catch the spillage but actually somehow make it worse. If you are foolish enough to lean on it, your forearm will be stained purple for days.
For the K2s, obviously. When on the dancefloor the bottle will be raised in the air, the index finger of the holding hand keeping the straw neatly folded over for when the perfect time to strawpedo strikes.
It used to be you – you didn’t give a fuck how shit it was, YOU GOT IN. But now, however, it is the people who joined school the year you left. And now you feel old: so, so fucking old.
An old DJ
DJ Daz has gained a bit of weight in the past 20 years, but he’s still got it. He still fist pumps and talks over all his tracks. “This is DJ Daz playing a bit of Liberty X for Denise! Happy 40th Denise, from all your pals”. And yeah, it is a mix of all the top chart sounds and house all night long.
A slightly younger DJ who the older DJ is resentful of
DJ Jono knows all the new Drake tracks and always causes a storm when he drops Birthday Sex by Jeremih. DJ Daz watches on, envy in his eyes.
Machines which blast out jets of air at the crowd
It’s not smoke. It’s definitely not foam (the foam party was last Thursday for A-level results). It’s just cold air, blown out over the dancefloor from two cannons while the DJ plays the airhorn sound from the start of a Jason Derulo song.
That 70-year-old local legend who always comes
Everyone thinks it’s super classic that Old Tom comes here every week, wearing a shirt and tie and getting papped in everyone else’s Snapchat stories as he boogies away.
Then you realise that he’s 72 years old, there’s no real reason for a man with his white hair and cold dead eyes to be here, and the whole thing is actually deeply sinister.
So tight, you might as well be naked. These shiny bandages cling around the frames of teetering-tottering gals on the town, leaving absolutely nothing to the imagination.
Bouncers in waistcoats
They have neck tattoos and earpieces and folded arms and they will beat the absolute living shit out of you if you don’t stop loitering in the doorway to the smoking areas.
Usually blue, often worn over t-shirts.
If you’re not resembling an astronaut on the moon as you make your way across the dancefloor then your club’s just not shit enough.
Or one of the guys from Love Island. Maybe a latter-season Made In Chelsea boy. Half the time they don’t even turn up, but that doesn’t stop the crowds from flocking every time their club advertises the opportunity to meet some dead end reality TV star.
Your PE teacher
The one that always tells you to “call him Peter”. You’ll see him in the smoking area and you’re sure he shouldn’t really be there, given that this is where everyone from your school goes out.
When you’re young you think it’s funny. When you’re older you realise how creepy it is. Regardless, he’ll probably face disciplinary action for an unrelated incident one day.
Really low sofas
The sofas in the VIP area are so low that once you’re in, you’re in for good. That is unless you can persuade someone to pull your heavy drunken body up from your new found resting place.
Sparklers in the tops of bottles
It doesn’t matter if the Grey Goose was bulk-bought for cheap, or if the bottle-that-looks-like champagne is actually sparkling wine from Guernsey with a 600 per cent mark-up. If it’s in the VIP area, with a gloriously bright sparkler in the top, it’ll make you look classy af.
Posters with “@” and “#”
11pm-3am @ Liquid #weekend #shots
Jackets and bags on the floor
You would never leave your possessions unattended at uni for fear of theft. In your hometown club, no such fear prevails. You know everyone in there and you trust them with your life, therefore also your passport and wallet.
A group of women dancing around them
This is just real David Attenborough level shit tbh.
An ATM which charges £3.50 for you to get cash out
You do really want another tequila though, so you’ll happily front the money. Shame it won’t actually dispense it, will charge your account double and will be unrefundable on account of the fact that you trampled the receipt into the sticky carpet as soon as you pulled it from the slot.
A condom machine that also sells mints
Or is it a mint machine that also sells condoms? To be fair it’s about 50/50, but you can guarantee when you spend your last £3 trying to buy some Johnnies because you think you’re about to get lucky, you’ll end up with a six rolls of Trebors instead. Maybe a cock ring too.
Some graffiti in the loo that you did when you were 15
It’s really bad that “Rollo is gay lol” will be the mark you left on this town. But it’s worse than nobody has cleaned these loos properly in the past decade.
You never knew how many people took shits in clubs before you came here.
A smoking area which is busier than the actual club
Things you will find in this smoking area: imposing outdoor heaters, picnic tables, girls sitting on each others’ laps.
Astro-turf on the smoking area floor
It’s just been “done up”.
No occasion is needed for these, you will be given one and you won’t remember from whom. Your friend will hold it back as you vomit in the taxi on the way home. You have lots of them in your room back home that you keep because you’ll deffo use it for fancy dress one day.
“Jäger” that’s not Jäger, not even close to Jäger
There’s a sign behind the bar that tells you not to ask for Jagermeister, because Jungfrau is the preferred herbal liqueur of this establishment.
You ignore the sign, and order four JägerBombs. The barman is contractually obligated to remind you that they are J-bombs. You ignore him, as does everyone else.
A guy who is sitting on a wall outside looking confused because someone punched him
Darren was literally doing nothing. He wasn’t, he wasn’t doing anything, the bloke just came at him out of nowhere and now it’s bullshit they’re trying to kick him out and not going to find the other bloke cos it was the other bloke who started it.
Blood on the pavement outside
But no bleeding people. Did the waistcoated bouncers take them away? Did Raffo call an ambulance? Just tiptoe around the blood and hope for the best.
Contributions from Bobby Palmer, Roisin Lanigan, Grace Vielma, Evangeline Katz, Annabel Murphy, Josh Kaplan and Isabella Eckert.