What’s the most tragic hometown club in the country?
35,000 of you voted in last year’s competition
That club. You know the one. It’s probably the first nightclub you ever got into. It’s probably the first club you ever got kicked out of. And, no matter how absolutely grim it is, it’s probably still your first choice every time you’re stuck back at home on a Friday with nothing else to do.
Yes, we all have a tragic hometown club – and last year, an unprecedented 35,000 of you voted for what you thought was the most tragic one in the whole country. Last year’s winner was the notorious Winkers in Chalfont St Peter. Now, the title is up for grabs again.
So who will claim the throne this year? Could it be the Flintstones-themed Bedrocks in Berwick-upon-Tweed, or Norwich’s dismal Waterfront? Maybe it’s St Albans manor-house-cum-dirty-disco Batchwood, or perhaps it’s Casino, Guildford’s infamous den of debauchery. Only you can decide.
Have a look at the simultaneously awful and amazing clubs in the running below, then cast your vote.
Everyone who was born or has visited Halifax will have heard of the Acca. From hearing stories from your parents and even your grandparents, you will know it’s the place to be., Many people may wonder how the Acca is even still open – after all, it’s tacky from the outside and not much better from the inside.
You stick to the carpet and you probably won’t leave without having a drink down you, yet we all end up there on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. You can spend as little as a tenner as drinks are only 75p. Yes, 75p.
You’ll spend your night trying to win free T-shirts and winning one is secretly the highlight of your night. You can even win free champagne (well, a bottle of cheap cava).
The DJ will play all the classics like Cha Cha Slide and Gimme Some, which just about says it all. It’s tragic, yet it’s truly wonderful.
Well it was either this or Club 1 in Ascot, and if you worked at Legoland you could get in for a quid. A quid.
Whether this is on the student night on Thursday, when you’ll see everyone you went to school with, or on a Saturday when you see anyone who didn’t go to uni. Admittedly it can be quite nice having an unexpected mini reunion when you’re shitfaced and feeling nostalgic. You’ve made some questionable life choices here but it’s OK, your friends were so wasted on their VKs and Apple Sourz they can barely remember.
Liquid can try to change its image with a new name, they can even attempt a revamp with a new interior but they can never change those awful memories forever ingrained in your mind of sweaty sixth formers grinding up against each other. Before it was renovated into Atik, anyone who regularly went to Liquid would call it Shitquid and even now probably tends to call it this instead out of habit.
Batchwood, St Albans
It only takes a glimpse at that purple and gold carpet to know you’ve arrived in Batchwood. Whether you intended to end up here or got dragged out from Waterend Barn, there’s nothing else quite like it.
Nestled away in the faux-opulence of the Batchwood golf course, the first discovery of the manor house-cum-club that is Batch was always a thrill. Lovingly named “Snatchwood”, the club is a major feature of any true Herts teen’s life. Back in the heyday of JLS and *those* fluorescent Topman v-neck tees, Baby Batch was the highlight of every school holidays, when the lemonade was flowing and mum would pick you up at 11pm.
Fast forward to turning 18, and a trip to Batch is almost indefinitely paired with a journey on the infamous Batchwood Bus – because there’s nothing that gets you in the mood to listen to Avicii than the ringing of “Tottenham are shit” chants en route. Upon arriving at “grown-up” Batchwood, you’re treated with the option of three different rooms.
Start off in the main room, where you’ll end up slut dropping to Jason Derulo and resent whoever got rid of the podiums, then stumble up to the disco room – almost always smelling of sick, and great if you love Robbie Williams. But realistically who has the luxury of choice when you’ll end up spending the whole evening either taking selfies on the throne in the girls’ loo or hopelessly looking for your mates on top of the stairs anyway.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to Batch without exploring the smoking area. Count your blessings if the grill is open for a drunken Batchwood burger, or in winter time, make like a Scottish granny and wrap up in a bright red Batch blanket. To be honest, everything sounds better with “Batch” in front of it – that’s probably why we still go.
Just before you thought small-town clubbing couldn’t get any more tragic, in steps the none-other-than-Flintstones-themed Bedrocks. You heard right.
Your ascent into Hell begins as you trudge up the almost-vertical stairs to be met by an incredibly sticky, multi-coloured… carpet. Yep, a club in the 21st century which is fully carpeted. Once inside, you’ll be charged an extortionate £5 to enter into a snake pit of teenagers and 50-somethings.
If you need a seat, the church-pew seats will suffice, and let’s face it, you’ll be sitting for a while to rest your feet after queuing at the bar for your JD and coke for the best part of half an hour. Despite it looking like a club from the Tudor time, every man and his dog from both sides of the border still venture here to enjoy classic tunes like the Scooter Megamix and Rhythm is a Dancer.
You can’t make this stuff up.
Where to start with Bliss? There’s the sticky hardwood floor, obviously, which becomes a spangly lino section for the dancefloor. There’s the chaotic array of pearly white leather sofa booths dotted around – complemented by the ultra-psychedelic wallpaper.
The there’s the fact it’s absolutely huge, which makes it look unnervingly empty on a Saturday night, even if it isn’t. If you ever had a birthday celebration there you’d get a table (very flash) with paper drinks tokens, a universal sign of quality.
The boys in this photo purposely decided to dress like shit for the occasion, complete with fake tan. They fitted in seamlessly with the usual clientele, which says a lot about Bliss.
The Buttermarket, Shrewsbury
It’s half 11, all the pubs are shutting, you’ve had a fair few – but you don’t fancy heading home quite yet. It’s how literally every night at The Buttermarket starts: people never head out with it being their intended destination, but you all know in the back of your heads that you’ll probably end up there, surrounded by a swarm of 18-year-olds, buying drinks you don’t really want but kind of have to get because it’d be rude not to for a quid.
And then there’s the Butter Bus. It’s damn convenient to get shuttled from town to the club for free, but it comes at a cost: it’s got it’s own song, played on a never-ending loop, which then gets stuck in your head for the foreseeable future. The Butter Bus is coming, the Butter Bus is coming….
Surely the fact there’s a free bus should tell you something about the club itself – they’re actively scooping people up off the street, cramming them into a minibus, and driving them to the club.
Considering that the entire population of Shrewsbury (actually, probably Shropshire) have been there at one point or other, you think people would be avoiding it by now but no – we’re pulled back into its dingy basement room time and time again, the ultimate love/hate relationship.
It might be a bit shit, granted, but there’s literally nowhere else to go.
Camel Club, Huddersfield
There’s always that one friend in the group who insists on Camel. They see something in Camel that literally nobody else does. Nothing says a great night out like being surrounded by people from school you’d hoped you’d never see again, completely fucked.
The music is never any good and the interior design looks like the world’s shittest ice cave. Thankfully, there’s a lounge area with cushions to make you feel cosy while you watch your best mate sticking their tongue down a stranger’s throat, while cartoons that make absolutely no fucking sense are shown on a projector on the wall. In the far corner there’s people getting their faces painted like it’s a school disco.
Head to the bar, down a few Jägerbombs, and maybe, just maybe, Camel won’t look as much of a shithole.
The carpets: sticky. The music: tacky. The decor: what decor? But you knew all that already. You queue in the freezing cold, and for what? A long wait at the bar, over-expensive drinks and toilets so grim even the most basic of girls won’t wait around to take a group snap (not even the dog filter can save these toilets).
Downstairs, they play it off as R&B but you don’t expect anything not in the charts. Drake ft Rihanna? What else is there? The dancefloor is filled with boys dancing in a circle chanting Will Grigg’s on fire and girls asking middle-aged men to stop grinding on them. No, she still doesn’t want a drink. Upstairs? Absolute cheddar. Music you’d expect at a year 8 disco.
Past the coat room, you’re not spending £2 on that. Jumper round the waist, standard procedure. Straight to the dancefloor: isn’t that your mate’s little brother? Wasn’t he four years below? You’re getting too old for this. You know the queue for the bar is so long that when you go you order three Jägerbombs each, simply because there’s no time to mess around. The floor is still sticky. You wish you were back at uni.
20 minutes later, your drinks have kicked in. You’re having the time of your life. You’re back with all your mates, throwing some classic shapes. You’re in your hometown at Mecca having a whale of a time. Dancing in the Moonlight is on, and you and your mates know all the words. You enjoy the moment, you live in it.
You know what you’re gonna get with Cameo. Is it shit? Absolutely. But is it everyone’s guilty pleasure? That needs no answer. There’s no need for Snapchat stories here. There’s nothing to be proud of and show off about. You’re just here for a good time.
Casino, and its MNG night in particular, is like Marmite. Some love it. Some hate it. The jet black exterior is bedecked in medieval torches and blacked-out windows. As a child, I used to be wary walking past it. I still am.
You catch a strong waft of Jägermeister whenever you walk down past the teeming one-way system outside the Friary. It doesn’t matter if it’s midday on a Wednesday, you will smell it before you see it. Things do not improve as you collect your ticket and stumble inside Casino. Thumping Stormzy tunes guide you towards the dancefloor; a hive of spilt drinks, terrible dancing and that group of middle-aged blokes with rampant insecurity complexes, downing their fiftieth drink to prove how lightweight the kids are these days.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed some of the best nights of my life in Casino. Friends are willfully encouraged to get utterly trashed, and we all embrace the sheer average-ness of Guildford life. The chino-wearing middle-classes screaming Skepta lyrics, douchey dancing abounding, and having a drunken chat with those mates you haven’t seen since primary school. It can be brilliant.
I’ve got messier than I will ever get at uni in this eccentric palace of vomit opposite the Rodboro Buildings. I’ve crawled from the toilets to the smoking area on my hands and knees, mocked my distraught mate as he smoked a cigarette the wrong way round, and consumed enough Jägerbombs to keep me awake for a week.
Embarrassing memories, sure. Painful ones too. But memories nonetheless. Casino is like a bad relationship. You know it should end, you know you both deserve better, but you keep coming back for more regardless.
Club Cookies, Dunstable
The most well known fact about Cookies is that it has very similar marketing techniques to current brands. Thursday nights, until recently, were offered with bright blue and yellow “CC” posters with either a £5 “pay as you go connection fee” or a £10 “contract fee” for drinks and entry price combined. Thursday nights have since been upgraded with a nationally recognised meerkat figure and a “simples” slogan.
The second most well-known fact is that no one goes there between the ages of 19 and 35.
Cookies is a last resort for a night out; their promise to make you “look like a bloody celebrity” is largely only in comparison to the groups of young lads in white shirts pouting at the camera. I guess when you’re 18 you can overlook the grimy floors, questionable spirits and out of date, repetitive music. Cookies is not, however, #AbsolutelyOut, as their slogan suggests, but more #EverSoSlightlyOut – at a push.
When you take into consideration the vast number of 40-year-old blokes leering in the back of club photos, it’s no wonder it’s a hotspot for Hollister wearing sixth formers and the fact that their biggest claim to fame, to date, is that Jason Derulo played there once in 2014.
Club Ice, Thetford
To even consider going within the walls of this club you first must be blindingly drunk. On the rare occasion you forget to book a taxi before the company turns off their phones to trek the 12 miles to Bury St Edmunds, ICE is where you’ll eventually end your night, after buying 4 pitchers of pornstar martinis, 2 Strongbows and the 2 bottles of WKD for £5 at Wetherspoons.
Once inside, it seems you just can’t leave – whether that’s because your new shoes have stuck to the floor or because you can’t get out of the cleaning cupboard they say is the woman’s toilets. You’ll no doubt be there until the lights come up and you’re forced to brave the river chilled air.
With Thetford the way it is, upon entry of the club it’s more like a boozy school reunion, where someone gets you in the door quicker cause they know the security, to the girls who bullied everyone at school telling you how much they love you in the toilets. Being the only club in the town it needs credit where due – on the rare occasion the DJ plays a decent song you’ll see the dancefloor flooded with bodies and arms in the air as they bounce from their knees, although there’s always the one guy that takes it too far, jumping too high and landing on you or a mate causing you to put bitchy resting face into action.
However it’s not to fear as the club only opens its doors on a Friday and Saturday – so as you leave early Sunday morning carrying your shoes, your path to the nearest car park lined with the whole of Thetford’s police force, you get home knowing
you’ve experienced one of the worst clubs in Britain let alone the MOST tragic hometown club in the country.
Club International, Falmouth
Despite Falmouth having two universities, Club I is the only place which sells alcohol until 2.30am in the whole of town. It gets pretty hectic at times, with naive and expectant freshers eagerly queueing down the flights of stairs that you’ll probably stumble down in an inebriated state later.
Besides Five Degrees Below, which is ridiculously tiny, it’s the only club in the whole town. There used to be another club called Mangos, but it got shut down. So yeah, it can get a bit cramped.
Locals will know it’s decades old and stretches back to the time when sailors used to dock their boats at the harbour and go for a jolly downtown. Even my nan has said “do people still go to Club International, dear?”, before describing the same kind of bar and the same colour of carpet we’re all so familiar with.
The bouncers are all well known and often stand by the toilets to give directions when you’re drunkenly stumbling into the wrong door. One of them is even a PE teacher at Falmouth Secondary School, meaning that he can pretty much recognise anyone underage attempting to enter into the hallowed sticky walls.
Most of the workers in the club will become your acquaintances. Either the ticket lady, the cloakroom workers, the bar staff or the bouncers see your face every week. This stage of recognition is sometimes quite depressing as you come to the realisation that you have become a “regular.”
Whether you’re a local or a student, the fact that there’s only one place to go means you will always know someone, be it your seminar friend or classmate from primary school. So go and experience the simple joys of partying in a quaint seaside town while you still can. After all, you can only go there about once a week anyway.
Club NEO, Yeovil
Yes, Club NEO is awful, but it’s undoubtedly amazing too. It’s the kind of night where you wake up in the morning with a five minute Snapchat story and don’t even care. It’s as homely as your favourite old jumper, and it’s a moment of pure incandescent happiness when you first run through the doors after a long and stressful term away.
Whether they went to your school, primary or you’ve got with them before, you tend to know most of the faces that frequent NEO on the weekend. Whether they’re from Yeovil, Sherborne or the other surrounding towns, people rush there to have their dreams fulfilled.
It doesn’t just have a fancy smoking cage and a three-tiered bar and dance floor area with a VIP on top, it also has poles and podiums. When the drink inspired sass hits you, the poles are the only cure and the only place to be when “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea comes on.
With Buy One Get One Free Fridays and the best A-level results nights in all of the land what more can there be? Did someone say foam?
Corp has been open since 1997, promising live music and cheap nights out: you’ll be faced with cheap drinks, many rooms and, most importantly, the stickiest of all sticky floors. Who doesn’t love those?
Two very important rules to consider before venturing to this beautiful venue, are that you NEVER wear any clothes that you have an attachment to, or anything white. You will spill something down you. You’ll also come home with some very questionable gunk on your shoes.
>All in all, an amazing venue – just make sure you’re drunk beforehand.
You’d be mistaken in thinking there is a lot of choice in Stafford – there are only two clubs – so pretty much everyone heads to Couture Superclub for a Saturday sesh or Tuesday student night.
You can’t go without knowing or recognising the majority of people, and the music caters to everyone’s choice. Sometimes you’ll even get a free shot on the way in. Your first sight may well be someone giving it some on a podium. Usually another drink (or few) is required before hitting the dancefloor, and I have still not found anywhere else in the UK which does three Jägerbombs for a fiver. It’s a Couture classic.
But it’s the range of music which makes Couture for most of us. There is a room entirely dedicated to cheese. You’re guaranteed some old school classics in there, usually at the drunkest part of the night, after you’ve thrown some shapes in the RnB room. The main room plays a mixture of pop, dance, hip hop and even grime (how modern), and it’s standard for the DJ to end the night with R Kelly’s Bump N’ Grind.
You’ve got Spoons round the corner and the world’s best kebab shop next door – what more do you need?
Ah, the annual Christmas Cruise. Where else could you see all your old primary school mates, first kisses and former BFFs all in one place at the same time?
Some Bazzalads and EDM later and you were well on your way to enjoying the best Christmas party of your life. Heaven.
Arguably the most popular place to go at any point of your night out in Plymouth, Cuba attracts pretty much anybody with a PL address – we’ll never know why, and we’ll never know how.
Whether you’ve just come from Factory and are still gurned in disbelief that the night is over, getting a taxi over from Ocejanners because you simply can’t walk in your heels anymore, or if you’re literally next door in Bang Bang (which is now Switch but it will never be the same, RIP Bang Bang) you can always rely on Cuba to play some absolute bangers and have one last boogie with your mates, who have all slowly dropped like flies so it’s usually just you, and a stranger, doing the Cotton Eye Joe.
No matter what mood you are in, Cuba will always find a way to get you up on that side, argue with people who are hogging the pole, swing around on the pole, grind on the person next to you, and continue drinking Jägerbombs. You know the end of is near when they play Fleetwood Mac, but you still refuse to leave, you then find yourself to the Macerena at 6am, the sunlight is coming through the windows and you look at the door, where your next move should be, which has a big poster saying “Keep the noise down” and question when your life got so tragic.
Long live Cuba.
The Diamond Tap, Newbury
19th May 2016. Probably one of the darkest days in West Berkshire history when the people of Newbury were informed that J.D. Wetherspoon had put the legendary Diamond Tap up for sale.
Although this bastion of market-town nightlife is still functioning, each visit is a reminder that one day in the future it will be no more. Every time you pay £3 entry, you walk along the carpet floor to the bar. You look up at the opulent chandelier whilst you order a drink.
You longingly look over to the dancefloor engaging the ever familiar crowd of 18-year-olds dressed up to the nines, boys from Thatcham, and that one middle-aged bloke who dances by the DJ booth like he’s back at his first Fatboy Slim concert. You take a sip of one of four of the VKs you ordered (because there is a high chance by 1am they’ve sold out of the liquid nectar), sigh, and think how much you’re going to miss this place.
So each time you go there now you go all out, like it might be your last ever DT session. You’ll spend half your night battling your way outside for a fag; you’ll go upstairs for a “civilised drink” and a chat but then run back down as soon as you hear Pitbull; you’ll pretend you’re pleased to see everyone from school, when actually you’re not at all.
And although you vow never to return, that you’re “too old” or “over” the Diamond Tap, you secretly love this tragic pubclub, and can’t imagine Newbury without it.
Dusk is a night out you can’t handle without a few drinks, and if that’s not a sign of a brilliantly awful club, then what is?
People from far and wide – well, from places where the taxi fares there are up to about £15 – gather in this tiny room for the best night of their week. There aren’t many other options and it’s not the time of year for casual drinking in the woods. Sheltered teens from Dunblane take advantage of the open train station barriers and fill their Snapchat stories with the top moments from their night out at the best worst night out in the country.
If you get there at the right time, one of the many wonders of Dusk is there is hardly ever any queue. When you first get there, still only tipsy on Wetherspoons vodka mixers, the music will be somewhat questionable. Once the drinks kick in however, you’ll be screaming and grabbing your friends every time you recognise the starting beat of the next song, and reeling off the lyrics like you have been practising since your last night there. Sweet Caroline mixed into Avici? That’s child’s play.
We can even say our favourite club is newly renovated. There’s a VIP area with a fantastic balcony to overlook those less fortunates who are standing, while you sit in your booth. Some parts even have carpets. That’s right, carpets. And sofa corners for when you’re close to having danced until you dropped. I mean if that mixed with the ambient lighting behind the bar doesn’t say luxury to you, then I don’t know what would.
The bathrooms are jazzy with a 365 degree disco-ball effect. So even when you leave the dance floor, the party continues while you pee.
For a long time it was the only club here, so there’s no real choice: full of punters who are far too dressed up for such a club, sticky floors and the same sad DJs mixing every overplayed club song in existence. There are no card machines, and one ATM that charges loads to take cash out.
The VIP areas? Try tatty leather sofas with rope across to make you feel important. And a smoking area that is a lot more exciting than the rest of the club. Still, you can’t help but have a good time there.
And yes, that’s actually how they spell the name. Maybe it’s meant to sound edgy?
The Star should be the apex of the degeneracy in the squalid little backwater that is Gosport, but no. The depravity continues the party a mere 100m down the street, at Emma’s Disco Nightclub.
If a glimmer of fun is to be had at this “club” you must be at least 11 pints deep and have never visited another drinking establishment in your life. A floor reminiscent of the Pacific Ocean, a preposterous card limit of £15, £5 single vodka mixers, a clientele with an average age of 47 and playlist so repetitive it makes the O2’s look diverse.
I say these things, yet I still go whenever it is foolishly suggested. See you there next week.
You grow up wanting to club in Liverpool, but your bank balance and the unreliable nature of Northern Rail mean you’re stuck in Widnes (a small chemical town) for your night out, there’s only one club, and it’s Establishment.
Known locally as Estabbo or (fittingly) Stab for the diehard clubbers, the best thing anyone’s ever said about this club is that it only really gets good around 3. It closes at 3. If the bright purple lighting weren’t enough, DJs like Basshunter are regular favourites – and that’s before this year’s batch of Creamfields clubbers arrive. Chaos.
Everyone you’ve ever met will be in there at the same time. You’ll likely get off with that one person from high school you hated and we’re 90 per cent sure VKs and Cheeky Vimtos are all they serve to wash down the poor life choices. It’s the kind of club you’ll probably recall to the paramedic after you’ve gone a bit too hard, but people still dress like they would for Liverpool – so expect to get stood on by heels a lot.
It’s so gloriously shit, not even a flaming sambuca could redeem it – but it’s the only club in Widnes and despite years fighting it, you’ll inevitably end up there after piling out of the Imperial spoons.
Evoque in Preston is by no means the best club in the world, but it’s the best Preston has to offer.
It caters for mainly two music tastes – the small, cramped and sweaty top floor plays R&B hits and throwbacks for you and your friends to get down and dirty to, and the larger bottom floor (mind the stairs) plays house music and some of the best remixes out there.
Why are there so many toilets, though? Three floors, three ladies’ bathrooms and three men’s. At least you have plenty of choice of where to do your business when you’ve broken the seal.
Faces, Gants Hill
Drinks served in white or black plastic cups, some guy on the trumpet, a VIP area that looks like an area of Crystal Maze, a wall that lifts up off the floor to reveal the light-up dancefloor, two poles up on podiums for you to grind on.
It’s a ram packed A-level results night with everyone from Chigwell to Bancroft’s to Woodford County High to Roding Valley, and it’s everything you wanted Essex to be is in this very club.
Faces is a place for glass-half-full kind of people. It’s a step up from Sugar Hut, and it’s the crown jewel of clubbing for anyone aspiring to be on TV in that orange county east of London.
Fever is a funny place. You have to be next-level smashed in Fever or else the presence of the creepy men standing around the edge of the dancefloor looking at you is quite unnerving. The light-up floor and cheesy bangers upstairs are a favourite, loved by all, but if you’re keen for some rhythmical dry humping to shitty chart music, downstairs is the place for you.
Sure, it’s tragic, but what did you expect from South Bucks?
Flex, Bury St Edmunds
It hasn’t been the same since it stopped being Xtreme? After all, Flex markets itself on its swanky flashing dancefloor, even though it’s never actually deemed busy enough for them to open the the floor it’s on.
Seriously, though, you’ve never seen true Christmas spirit until you’ve been drenched in VK in a Flex dancefloor brawl on Christmas Eve. Yes, that happened to me last year. No, I don’t want to talk about it.
Fusion, Tunbridge Wells
Do you miss Fusion as much as me? While Fusion deserves to win the award for grimmest hometown club in the country, it doesn’t half make you miss it when it’s gone. It’s like if an old man with incontinence and a habit of smacking the young nurses’ bums was magically turned into a nightclub. It’s just Fusion, you can’t hate it.
Fusion is desperation. Fusion is carnage. Fusion is what happens when you open just one nightclub in a county which insists on sex segregating 90 per cent of schools and giving them no proper sex and alcohol information. It was Thursday Night Fusion or bust and damn it, there’s never been anything quite like it.
The George, Chorley
At one time in our adolescent lives, The George, Chorley, was a big night out at its prime. Yes, it is technically a pub, but it has the vibes, atmosphere and clientele to match any reputable venue. Firstly it had the tunes: the playlist was strictly R & B bangers until 4AM, so not a night went by without Sean Paul and Get Low. And boy did the girls get low: so low that legend has it that once a girl fell over in her heels and broke her ankle and her bone came through the side.
There really was nothing quite as terrifying as walking up to one of those two front doors at 16 – the fear was being turned away in front of a queue as literally everyone from Parklands and St Mic’s partied away inside, necking their £1 drinks wondering whether to fork out the £6 for AJs or not.
Whether you liked it or not, The George was an inevitable part of your youth – if you didn’t stumble out of there on a Saturday and head to The Nile, you were a nobody. Let’s raise a glass to The George, Chorley’s glorified school disco, but more importantly, its most tragic club – we’re currently unsure of the damage caused by the fire, but we wish them a full return to the glory days.
Havana, St Albans
You don’t get a lot of young people in Havana’s – and it’s not just because of the over-21 door policy. In fact, most of the people in here are closer to 50 than 21, which is weird considering the whole place is more like a disco in a school hall than an actual nightclub.
Seriously, they literally do salsa classes for middle-aged women in here during the day. So how can it be so much fucking fun at night?
Hustle is Lancaster’s worst establishment, or perhaps its best – it’s a frequent dispute.
The sickly purple doorway is a dirty sight in the daylight but past midnight it seems to herald something great. You never see the club empty on a weekend despite its questionable reputation, often with lengthy lines of teens queueing for free entry .
Once you enter, you are sure not to leave until the doors are closed at 5am – whether it’s because of the DJ who keeps us on our toes with relentless renditions of “Stacy’s Mom,” the all-night one pound shots or the sambuca-coated carpets which keep you stuck firmly to the floor.
Formerly known as Passion, who can forget the days of 50p drinks on a Monday. 5op for a vodka and lemonade – you can’t even get a bag of crisps for that. Unfortunately, like all good things we like in this life, the prices went up – but that’s not to say you still can’t have a good time at Illusions.
The biggest mistake is always getting to the club far too early and seeing about three people on the dance floor busting some moves more embarrassing than The Inbetweeners. As the night picks up the dancefloor isn’t just a place for dancing. All sorts will happen on that dance floor from dozens of empty plastic cups to some weirdo trying to pull your drunk mate
You’re now wondering if pound drinks are such a good idea because it’s now down to you to keep an eye on you’re mate for the rest of the night and make sure they don’t end up in an even bigger state – but let’s face it, you’re at Illusions, of course they will. Best pack it in early and get a 2am Meatball Marinara across the road.
Inn on the Green, Enfield
Inn On The Green was the place you went to in Enfield when you really really really REALLY couldn’t be bothered to go further afield into London. Seriously, it was the definition of last resort. It couldn’t decide whether it was a pub or a bar, evident in its clientele of old, angry regulars aggressively clutching pints mixed with young overly-dressed teens downing Breezers before jumping in the queue.
The dancefloor was always empty due to the weird, ageing band singing dated songs you’d only hear at painfully awkward family functions, which meant the bar and smoking area were constantly rammed. This would then lead to a one-in-one-out policy, which in turn would lead to an enormous queue, which obviously would make any passer-by assume, “damn, Inn on the Green is LIT.” Which it wasn’t.
Pricey, terrible music and the least-suited blend of people you could ever imagine. But, you know, we still went. You’ll be missed, sweet prince. Kind of.
Donald Trump even thinks that Kasbah is tragic. They were threatened with legal action by the President after his face was mocked as the Joker for a Halloween poster, which is fitting because Kasba itself is a joke. Yet despite a well-deserved reputation as being pretty shit, Kasbah (Colly to the locals) is unavoidable if you plan on staying out beyond about 12:30.
Open for a few nights a week, they attract ‘celebrities’ such as Cascada, Fatman Scoop and the Vengaboys. At night, Kasbah looks opulent; screaming Las Vegas in the Midlands. In reality, it’s as glamourous as a contoured face melting in the sweat that drips from the ceiling of the dancefloor.
Notorious for its 80p shots, Kasbah gets you drunk but that’s about it. Nobody has their best night at Kasbah. In fact, Kasbah is the club you only go to go when you want to embrace your cheesy, tacky side. Pictures of Kasbah may look like the club to be, but that’s only because you physically can’t get off the floor for all the spilt VS. You’re trapped in trap music, but you’re proud of your collection of photobombing other girls at Kazzy B. To be fair, the smoking area is still pretty good, with the outside bar and all-night barbeque letting you keep the night going without having to venture inside.
You can always be guaranteed to bump into someone you know in the Colly though, and there’s nothing quite like that moment when you catch someone’s eye across the dancefloor, and silently acknowledge that yes, you’re both fucking tragic for being in here, but fuck it, you’re from Coventry – how much worse can it get?
Koolers/The Kirkhouse, Merthyr Tydfil
When a night out in the South Wales Valleys in planned, there is no doubt that it is going to be an absolute spectacle of an evening, and there is nothing more weird and wonderful than Kirkhouse, which looms like a magical beacon in the centre of Merthyr’s town centre.
Known to those who love it most as Koolers, shouts about the lengthy walk across the bridge echo throughout the streets as you pray you don’t have to queue in the rain. Screams of “Wheeeeeey Koolaaas” are amplified as you scurry along, desperately trying to avoid that girl you hate from school on the other side of the kerb.
Then, once you’re inside and have paid the extortionate £5 to get in, which you forget you’ve paid by the end of the night, you have to make a decision: do you spend time downstairs, dancing to music that’s great on a dancefloor filled with older, civilised people? No, of course you fucking don’t.
You head up the deathly red stairs towards the shine of the spiky lights and you go to whatever corner your high school has claimed as their own, listening to the shitty remixes they play over the speakers. It’s tradition. You bump into your exes, your school friends, people you don’t want to see, and you get slaughtered from vodka you have to drink through a paper straw, followed by sambuca poured by the bartender you last spoke to when he was in your ICT class.
And you pray, oh you pray, through all your will and strength, that they finally make episode 8 of Koolers TV on YouTube, and you’re the star of the show; the star of Merthyr nightlife, just like the lights of The Kirkhouse.
All-hail Liqqy! I mean, it is the only place to be on a Saturday night if you’re one of the few lucky enough to inhabit the glorious city of Gloucester.
There are two types of customer: the ones who accept the fact they’re tragic enough to enjoy a sticky, sweaty (but still, downright brilliant) night in Liquid, or you’ll swear down that you’re over it and will never step foot in there again.
With each being said… FACT, every single individual between the ages of 18-25 will either be spotted air guitaring to All The Small things on a cheese-ridden Saturday night in Diva, leaning on the metal fence out the back, chain smoking whilst trying and failing to chat up that kid you used to fancy back in year 11, or hustling at the bar with that bartender whose name you know, purely because you’re there every weekend.
I imagine that majority (if not all) of us, constantly take a short moment and question our lives, as we stumble through the doors, into the arms of a place that has tragically become a second home. Yes, the music may be repetitive, with constant replays of Ayo by Chris Brown and Tyga. Yes, your shoes might stick to the carpet with every step that you take. And yes, the queue for the smoking area may be the most tedious thing that you’ve ever had to live through.
But despite ALL of that, our lowly little small-town nightclub is very much a force to be reckoned with. Long live Liq.
Wigan, for those unacquainted, is home to the world’s greatest pies, Vernon Kay, and the North’s clubbing Mecca, King Street. It’s where people of all ages (literally) come out in force and in questionable costumes on Boxing Day ceremoniously every single year.
It’s hard to pick one single club out of Wigan’s infamous strip, but Lux deserves this crown more than any of the others for several reasons. Firstly, the bouncers aren’t judgemental – they let anyone in, and for that reason Lux’s dancefloor is filled with the most unlikely mix of characters and misfits: people from Winstanely college, Wigan and Leigh, people you went to school with, other people who just go to high school, and a few old fat regulars who just really like the indie music.
This was a place where emo-fringed teenagers could buy singular cigarettes for 50p behind the bar, and dance on those ridiculously high podiums with carpeted walls to the Killers and Pigeon Detectives. It was a place of no judgement; where you could get fingered on the dancefloor, throw up everywhere and run around with no shoes on, without anyone blinking an eyelid.
Lux, we miss you dearly, you were leagues above the Jumpin Jaks and Revolutions of this world. Give this long lost rite of passage the tragic crown it deserves.
Moo Moo, Tunbridge Wells
The loss of Fusion to Tunbridge Wells nightlife might well be the greatest tragedy of this generation – no more will the youth of T Wells know the horror of walking into Fusion for the first time, and feeling as if you may have contracted an STI from the floor – which has inevitably stuck to the soles of your shoes – while being hit by a palpable wall of sweat.
Since Fusion is no more (and was really just a room above an M&S anyway), MooMoo’s – which sounds like a frozen yoghurt shop – is the only available port of call. With its three floors and three themes, you can’t go wrong on a Thursday.
Unless you’re middle aged, needing to put your bag in the cloakroom or looking for a genuinely shite time, nobody stays on the middle floor. The décor is somewhat reminiscent of a sex dungeon – I won’t elaborate too much, but it has purple velvet walls. If you have any sense, the top floor is where it’s at. T
he DJ is the kind of bloke who (correctly) describes Mr. Brightside as a “banger” and plays it every hour, on the hour. Once you’ve been taught how to strawpedo a VK, and you got so good at it you do it twice, there really seems like no better place in the world to prove to everyone in sight how well you know every single word to Gold Digger.
MooMoo Clubrooms, Cheltenham
One cannot fully comprehend the tragic townie club that is MooMoo’s without first grasping the context of Cheltenham. You see, that what is so perfect about a night at MooMoo’s is that it is SO Cheltenham.
Chelt is the place where the word “chav” was actually coined: we’ve all heard it, stemming from the mixture of “Cheltenham” and “average”, you know when entering Moo’s you’re going to find them there and in big numbers. However, it’s also here that you can find a selection of the most poncey posh schools all squashed together in a small place. Quite a mix.
Some have said it would be the perfect setting for a retelling of Cinderella, as often a Bournside babe may find herself getting off with a Cheltenham College prince. Oo la la. Also, expert dirty r’n’b beats to get you bumpin and grindin all night long…. well, until they shut at 3am and the entirety of Moo’s heads to KFC.
Could there be a better night out? Yeah, probz.
Music Box, St Ives
Loved by many, hated by more: Music Box is one of the best worst nights out in Britain.
For anyone who grew up in one of the many towns and villages surrounding St Ives, Music Box is a ritual – an initiation into the world of clubbing. And having been open for over 20 years, Music Box has survived the test of time.
Music Box is a middle ground, a meeting place between Peterborians and Cambridge dwellers. Hidden down a rather sinister looking alley, Music Box offers drinks cheaper than any Cambridge club, with a much lower chance of getting robbed than Peterborough. Men in full suits dance on the same floor as college students, local roadmen drink just across from the occasional middle-aged builder. Forget the student-only vibe you’re used to at uni – Music Box takes everyone, and it’s all the better for it.
The most glorious part of Music Box is simply having fun. You don’t need to make an effort – by all means dress up, but nobody is judging you for wearing jeans and trainers. Throw yourself around the infamous pole by the DJ booth, dance like there’s no tomorrow – Music Box is about a legendary night out, all topped off with a glorious kebab from Chicken Lickin.
The New Inn/Village Inn, Corby
Wind Inn. Where to start! You walk in and the dancefloor is split in two, with a raised platform full of the best elderly women gaeing! Absolutely hoaching with the fandan it is!
Once you’ve walked down the channel of love and made it to the bar, that’s when the real party starts. Get your drink, have it walloped out your hans so you have to buy another, head to the lavvies where there’s some geezer trying to flog ciggies and aftershave, then back to the dancefloor. You’ll end up taking a wee lassie back to hers only to find out the next day she’s married with three kids.
Anyway, if you can’t tell from this review, it’s a truly smashing place.
Nu Bar, Loughton
It’s not even a club, but for one of the busiest towns in Essex, flocks of fake tanned bodycon dressed girls and turtle neck wearing mushroom haircut blokes will venture there on a weekend.
You go in because you’ve not really got another option. Luxe turned you down because it was too busy, and you’re not really up for getting on the tube because London is too expensive. Face it, so is Nu Bar. When you were 18, the last thing you wanted to do was shell out £30 for four drinks, but that’s what you’ll do here.
And just when you thought it was upmarket, you’ll walk outside and someone will get their hand chopped off with a machete.
An Oceana alone in the world is a terrible thing. Long after most city centres got themselves a sparkly new Pryzm, Southampton keeps it old school. Which means if you’re here, you’re either old or at school.
There is a reason you always end up here though. It’s remarkable how a club interior copy and pasted across the entire country can feel so homely, yet so fresh. The cavernous main room plays host to the school disco your 15-year-old self dreamed of. When you lose a friend, you know exactly where to look. If they’re not staring at the technicolour dance-mat floor in disco, or playing Louis Theroux-esque spectator to a mild beef in the freezing smokers’, they’ll be chewing through a plastic hot dog somewhere on the stairwell.
Rumours it’s going to be knocked down do spark a hint of nostalgia though. Oceana’s always been there for you, whether it’s a nappy night when you’re too young to go clubbing, or at 3am when everywhere else is closed. And while people might ask what they’d do without it, we all know the answer is something much better.
The Outback, Isle of Man
Living on the Isle of Man, of course, means being confined to a cold rock in the middle of the Irish sea and having to make do with what’s on offer. In this case, that’s the OB.
The goal of any young person on the island is to turn 18 (or have someone who looks like you turn 18) so you can experience the nightlife on offer the pinnacle of which is The Outback. Known colloquially as the OB, this is where you will experience the stickiest nights of your life – shoes have been sacrificed to the dancefloor in there and God help you should you wear anything white.
This mystical place is actually a rather grim sports-bar-cum-god-awful-nightclub. This is a place we often recall at pre-drinks with our coursemates who have absolutely no idea what we’re talking about – we’ll tell you about it all the same though because it’s the stuff of legend.
The love/hate relationship towards the OB has divided young people for decades: those who hate it claim you’ll regret it in the morning, while those who love it (me) call them bores.
While many people’s guilty pleasure is eating Ben & Jerry’s or watching Love Island, mine is much guiltier: going to Pryzm in Kingston.
There’s no other club in which you can queue for three hours, get to the front door and be told that you’ve been banned, but have absolutely no recollection as to why. It’s a place that unites all people, whether it be those that live for the cheese room, those that find meaning in dutty wining or those that “cut shapes” – emphasis on those quotation marks.
It’s also a place where you will inevitably see all of your exes or, if you’re that unfortunate, all of your one night stands, forcing you to flee into the pamper room which is strangely heavily equipped with makeup and hair straighteners.
And let’s not forget about all the people from secondary school you’ll see, the ones you’d hoped to avoid for the rest of your life.
Even when you’re throwing up on the security team, they kick you out with such grace. Yep, it’s certainly a night to forget.
Any other Oceana just will not do. You all have that special place in our hearts for the club(s) you went to when you just turned 18, but what Watford has to offer is of a magical supremacy and will always be number one in our eyes.
Sure, it may have always seemed just a bit too large for the measly crowd and there may have always been a palpable smog of sweat hanging over the dancefloor which you could actually taste, but Oceana (not Pryzm, never Pryzm) was home – and you could just about stomach it after a couple of hours in Yates’s or Walkabout before.
You’ll end up having the time of your life, until you’re thrown out for trying to take a piss in the wooden smoking area on the roof.
The Purple Turtle, Reading
What would a big Reading night out be without the delights on Purple Turtle? It’s home to Reading’s biggest and most undeserving queue every Friday and Saturday night. Inside you’ll find lots of very young people dancing awkwardly and shouting very loudly along to Don’t Stop Believing.
Some of its edgier revellers enjoy a skank in the dark, damp basement – and it’s a real sight to behold – but the true heroes of the night are in the vast smoking area. Some would argue that this is the jewel in the club’s crown. It’s the Purple Turtle’s redeeming feature, and it might just be the best in the South West.
Say what you want about the Purple Turtle but you cannot deny its cringe-inducing playlist, people and vibes. A few Jägerbombs in and it becomes the greatest club on earth: it’s the tragic club that puts Reading on the map.
The Quay, Blyth
Going to Revs for the first time is an exciting occasion. You’ve heard all about the flavoured shots and your friends will definitely buy you the birthday cake one which is quite frankly disgusting. You’ll migrate en masse to the dance floor, where the choice of dance moves on a Revs night are the “my heels are too high” wiggle and the “I don’t want to look too enthusiastic” bop.
There’s usually at least one girl in the loos with makeup and snot running down her face because she’s just seen her ex, but at least Revs has a veneer of class. There may be a couple engaging in some risky touching but at least it’s in dim ambient lighting on plush leather sofas so there’s some sophistication in the act.
In Ipswich, Revs and Sin stand in direct competition for our clubbing nights out. Sin, as the cheap, cramped box it is, versus the seemingly classier and more “grown-up” alternative. Still I, and I’m sure many of my fellow hometown compadres, would still rather a night in Sin than even a few hours in Revs.
I mean seriously, who can even remember what music they play in Revs? It’s easy to forget, especially after a few drinks you can’t pronounce and shots of many colours and variety. Sure, Revs is bigger, pricier and looks better than dear old Sin, but the clientele are also more mature – at least in age.
Speaking as a girl, walking across the dancefloor to the toilets and being ogled by men who look like they could be old enough to be your dad, quite frankly, isn’t wanted or needed. Stay classy, Revs.
A Saturday night is not complete without a couple of jugs in Spoons followed by a trip to Roof, the shining light in the distance that is Bridgend’s otherwise non-existent clubbing scene. Named so because of it’s main feature – a roof you can stand and drink on in the summer months (and more recently the winter ones too, delightful) – Roof is a rite of passage for those who live in and around Bridgend.
The dancefloor is wasted as it just becomes extra space for the queue to the bar to spill on to, patiently you stand and wait for your drink while awkwardly trying not to accidentally grind on the guy in front of you who you probably haven’t seen since year 13.
But what is it you’re drinking? Ah, The Lazyboy. Two double vodkas and a pint of energy drink. Potentially lethal, especially when you don’t pre drink hard enough and think you can stomach more than two in a night. It’s hard now to smell Red Bull without thinking about how exactly you embarrassed yourself the weekend before.
Realistically though, while there are too many stairs, not enough seats and you only ever sit outside so wake up on Sunday morning with a cold, Roof is the only place to be on a Saturday night.
Rosies Nightclub in Chester has had its fair share of attention over the years, mostly because it’s notoriously shit. For the people who grow up in Chester, you know it’s bad, everyone tells you it’s bad. It’s only when you experience it for yourself do you realise how bad it is. After going to uni and experiencing what a good night actually feels like however, you can never look at the place the same way. Even though you’ll still probably end up going when you come back for the holidays.
Its reputation has made headlines in the past: after all, many remember it for the controversial Halloween costume contest where two Chester uni students dressed up as the twin towers, and fucking won. For anyone who hasn’t been to Rosies it has three floors, which oddly enough seems to be the main focus of their “multi-floor experience” tagline they advertise so much with.
The various hallways are awkward to get around, with a small staircase leading to all the floors that have seen many people slip on rogue WKD and fall – only for the resident medic to take you to the mystic sick room, a clinical cell that is oddly right next to where they serve food. They even sell food in the club, so for only £3 you can pick up a whole slice of pizza. Bargain mate.
Sin & Bushwackers, Worcester
Sin & Bushies. Two clubs for twice the level of tragic.
You’ll start your night off in Sin – free entry – grafting on someone before realising they’re actually five years younger than you. Shortly after dodging that bullet you’ll get hit on by someone who’s 41. To take a timeout, you’ll cop six Jägerbombs for a tenner – perhaps Sin’s only saving grace – and drink them all at the bar, shameless, before getting very emotional just as “Will Griggs on Fire” comes on.
Proceed to the dancefloor to belt it out; realise your friend’s dad is there on a work social; as is her mum; dance with them; get a picture; practically cry over “Mr Brightside”; haul yourself onto one of the poles and give your potential one-night stand the worst lapdance of their life. Wonder what on earth the dress code is as a girl in lace-up heels and a Missguided dress spills her drink on your leggings and trainers.
Come 1am you’re too plastered to realise the usual £3 entry for Bushies has gone up to a fiver (blame Brexit) but you’ll pay it anyway. Do a lap of the smoking area, where you will meet every single person you have ever met. A few stolen cigs later and you’re ready to face the crypt: the grimy, humid hole in the ground where sweat runs down the walls in streams.
Find yourself getting with the 41-year-old creep who followed you from Sin before escaping upstairs to bust some moves on the raised platform by the door. Get a cringeworthy picture snapped of yourself while you’re up there before moving onto Maccies at a respectable 3am. Watch through the window, eerily detached, as the police breaks up a fight between some 15-year-olds outside, safe and warm with your 20 McNugget Share Box.
Ambar or Chameleon? The only real answer to this question is of course Shellys. Whatever company takes over management of Horsham’s premier clubbing experience it’s always known by its trademark Shellys, Shells or Shelldinos for the daring.
“Are you going Shellys tonight?” is probably the most popular catchphrase on a Saturday night in the Lynd. It’s a brand in itself and no new name could ever replace the ever enduring, ever bizarre nickname. Maybe it was the name of a chain gone by but no-one under 25 knows how or why our nightclub – and town for that matter – has some weird affiliation to Percy Shelley.
If anything sums it all up it’s the infamous pole. Chain after chain has taken over the joint and yet the holy pole has remained, ready to lure young clubbers to their social media death. Everyone’s been partial to a bit of pole action and what says true glamour like strutting up those stairs to your back-up career destiny.
Seriously though, why trek to Brighton or Guildford to club with a room full of strangers, when you can spend a fiver to get into a place where you’ll know every single person in the room? The kid down your road will be there, and so will the guy you’ve fancied since secondary school. That’s the beauty of being from a small town: although everyone may witness your flavour of that night, you’re also never going to be dancing alone or be left short on gossip latter on eating kebabs at The Best. Everyone knows everyone and it’s amazing.
Shellys is more than this, though. It’s a rite of passage to enter the hallowed room (no-one counts the second dance room, it’s a glorified bar with a carpet) after your 18th. Even if you say you hate it, you still end up going “ironically.” I’ve had good nights out sober, good nights out drunk, good nights out when it’s been empty and good nights when it’s been full.
Who are you kidding? So have you.
SLVR/Tiger Tiger, Croydon
Perched on the edge of a bleak Friday night Surrey street, SLVR hasn’t managed to take away Tiger Tiger’s (RIP) reputation as the best nightlife that South London has to offer.
The queue out the door lets you sample the delights of a closing Iceland and KFC – but it isn’t worth the wait. With the world’s smallest dancefloor it’s less Single Ladies and more ladies huddled in a corner. Plus, there’s always that random 40-year-old standing in the corner that your mate swears used to deal him weed in school.
When you’re stuck in the freezing air waiting to be let in by the bouncer who doesn’t seem to like you it’s time to remember the clubs of Christmas past. Try comparing it to the time that Croydon had its own Yates, Walkabout and The Black Sheep Bar. Talk about heartbreaking.
And that’s actually the good bit. When you finally get in, beware of the cloak room: dodgy things are said to have happened and after your first time you smoked the end of a cigarette at 15, there’s nothing charming about your favourite coat smelling like it’s just been dipped in an ashtray.
The music’s another story. There’s nothing more tragic than this Croydon club playing mainstream Stormzy at 10pm, with Whitgift (et al.) boys dancing somewhere in the cramped corner of the dance floor; Skepta would be sceptical at the once great home of grime music.
One thing has to be said in defence of Croydon’s crap and tragic nightlife – at least it’s close enough to East Croydon that you can stumble home with your Burger King without looking like too much of a mess.
Smack, Leamington Spa
If you live in Leamington your weekend starts and ends on a Tuesday night, somewhere in between the Shell garage and what’s left of the Tavvy.
It makes sense to name that place after a suitably deadly class-A drug. The phalanx of plastic tumblers behind the bar, containing a modest amount of vodka and Red Bull, is a little too polonium-210 for my personal tastes. Having said that, in the scheme of things Smack is quite a good hometown club.
The faux aura of cool which surrounds it is embarrassing, though. Moody bouncers wish for a Vegas VIP room to guard – instead they’re helping teenagers out of the gutter and doing too many bicep curls at the Workout Mill.
The Snooty Fox, Newbury
The lights have come on in the Diamond Tap but you’re not quite ready to go home or get a Ghassan’s just yet. What you require now is somewhere even dirtier and more unforgiving than Spoons: The Snooty Fox.
A space that’s usually reserved for ale-drinking locals becomes a mecca for thirsty Newburians desperate for one more song between the hours of 4-6am every weekend, you can’t quite put your finger on what you like about Snooty. It could be the illuminated jukebox awkwardly placed on the “dance floor,” the black curtains reminiscent of a school drama room, the unpredictable playlist, the crowd ranging from 40-year-old mums who probably work in the building society to your mate’s 18-year-old sister, or the fucking gross toilets which you actively try to avoid.
But the real reason you voyage across the Market Place and run through the alley to the pub turned club is for the badge of honour. You made it through pre-drinks, you completed Diamond Tap and you’ve still got something left in you. In the survival of the fittest you and your fellow Snooty-goers are top of the food chain, and you’ll make sure to let everyone in your WhatsApp know the next day that you “ended up in snooty loool x.”
“You know what, I’d really love a big night out in Thirst tonight”, said no-one ever. It’s always where you end up, crammed in the corner of the smoking area next some guy in a blazer complaining about how much he just paid for his pitcher.
Despite it being ridiculously small, half of your night will be spent trying to find your friends that you’ve lost, wrestling your way through the loop of people and trying to avoid small talk with that girl you went to primary school with who’s out on her hen do. Genuine question – who sits on those leather seats inside? Have they been there since 9pm to save them? Can they hear themselves think?
Sure, you’ve probably had your fair share of great nights out there, but that’s nothing to do with the club or it’s surroundings. Maybe you were so drunk you didn’t care, grateful that you didn’t have to pay a fiver to get into Bridge, or probably just because everyone you know is there.
But as much as you resent it, you know that next time you’re out with them, you’ll be back there again.
Sure, it may look like a house and it may be overpriced. The DJ in the main room may be rubbish, and the millionaire-meets-student dress code might not quite work. But when the club you’re at usually contains around 50 per cent of your area code on a Friday night, you know it can’t be that bad. Right?
Then of course there’s the R&B room, where everyone is suddenly Beyonce, or the DJ downstairs who’s around 60 and still cracks out the bangers. The fact that the club itself is inside a house really plays on any American dream fantasies you might have, and the photographer always seems to get the perfect angle. Why pay for a photoshoot?
Tramps: you always say it’s the worst, yet you end up there on every night out. No matter how many times you say you hate it, you will always find yourself back there. Maybe you know the bouncers personally; maybe you get recognised when you order your 12th drink at the bar.
The club has had its fair share of controversy over the years,such as the Jason Derulo appearance which basically consisted of him turning up in the early hours of the morning and shouting “hello Wolverhampton” to a very unamused crowd. Their Wednesday student night is filled with half-naked rugby lads, while Saturdays are like a scene from some low budget inbred horror movie: a crowd enticed in by a desperate 50 per cent off everything offer.
Sill, Tramps is the kind of club you’ll never just give up. How could you? It’s your second home.
Veeda, St Albans
Why are you at Veeda? Seriously, why? If you’ve found your way here, something must have gone wrong. Was the Slug too busy? Was the Batchwood Bus broken down? Did you not want to fork out for a train into London?
You can’t even say you have good memories in Veeda, because it only opened a few years ago. Your only memories of Veeda are no doubt already being too old for a club like Veeda, shivering out on the street behind a flimsy barrier that’s meant to dictate where the smoking area is since they couldn’t be arsed to get an actual smoking area. Or that time you saw Dan Bilzerian there. Yes, really.
Normally having a club with entirely mirrored walls will make it seem more spacious and more futuristic. With Veeda, that isn’t the case. The mirrors exist only to replicate your shame a thousandfold, showing you from a million different angles how impossibly sweaty the stifling dancefloor has made you, and how deeply unhappy you are to be here.
Why is The Venue (Sandancer to everyone above 20) so shit?
Well, the carpet is so sticky your soles will come off, with a carpet-to-chewing gum ratio of about 1:7.
There are only two “bars” and neither has anything on tap. 60p for a coke, add a shot of shitty vodka and it’s £6
They don’t normally even have a photographer because it’s that shit. But once they got one and all the pictures were of teenagers holding bottles of Bud and WKD. They try and sell jelly shots that are all jelly and no alcohol for £1, sure, but all anyone drinks is Bud. And WKD.
Behind the “DJ booth” they have a “cocktail bar,” AKA a vodka cranberry juice served in a sandcastle bucket with a cocktail umbrella. By the entrance they have a “hall of mirrors,” AKA every wall on the left side is a mirror.
The entry prices. £5 minimum, but bumped up to £6 on busier nights with the audacity to charge £12 on “events” which are usually shit local DJs and some other shit DJ who isn’t as local.
Then there’s the name. Two different names on the same building! IT SAYS SANDANCER ON THE WALL AND VENUE ON THE SIGN!!!
The Venue, Dumfries
What can you say about The Venue? Grotty? Cheesy? Huge understatements – it’s the definition of hometown club, full of people you haven’t seen since your final years at school and probably won’t see again.
It has been rumoured that people travel for almost an hour just to get a taste of the VK fish bowls and the cheesy tunes. And how can we forget about the free entry: when you tag you and your mates in a sneaky Facebook post telling everyone about how you are poisoning your body and mind with this place.
Now it’s not the best nightclub in the world, but it’s certainly an experience you’ll not forget. Seriously, who would have thought such an incredible place would look like this during the day.
As soon as you get stamped on the way in you can kiss goodbye to a layer of your skin cleaning it off the next day, because it’ll take a good hour of scrubbing to get that ink off.
You’ll see an array of characters in here some making you wonder “where the hell am I?”, and your feet constantly sticking to the floor will make it impossible to leave – but once you get the drinks flowing and you’re on the dance floor you’ll end up mortal, waking up with the world’s worst hangover the next morning saying you’re never drinking, or going to Vibe, again.
Well, until next week. Vibe always drags you back, it’s inevitable.
Viper Rooms, Harrogate
Previously known as YOLO, MyParty, and Risque, Verve at Vipers is the only place to be in Harrogate on a Thursday night. It boasts many good features including its lavish interiors with its plush seating areas, chandeliers and famous mirrored room that pretty much every Harrogate girl has taken advantage of. If you haven’t had a full length mirror pic in there, what are you doing with your life?
One of the key features of Vipers is its large smoking areas, where going “out for air” is completely defeating the object. It’s usually crowded and rammed with people grafting and generally talking shit. There’s always someone trying to sneak round the bouncer on the stairs, too.
Despite the fact the drinks are crazily expensive, everyone in on a Thursday night in Vipers seems to be particularly arseholed. Perhaps they won a table and a free bottle of bubbly, or they sponged off one of their richer mates, who knows. A few celebs come visit Vipers from time to time, whether it be an ex-Made in Chelsea cast member or a cheeky Geordie Shore boy.
Sure, most of them stay behind the VIP rope all night but at least you’re sharing the same breathing space. Plus you can always pay a tenner for a photo and hope it will resort in Frankie Cocozza giving you a tongue sandwich.
Winchester boasts one nightclub, VODKA, which is dead every night except for Thursdays when it’s frequented only by the surrounding sixth form students. The floors are always sticky, the music is atrocious, it’s overpriced, dirty, dingy, and you won’t be able to stop yourself going back.
Of the 10 reviews on Google, one calls it “horrible,” one say it’s “not worth the one star,” and another describes it as “basically shit.” Lovely.
The Waterfront, Norwich
In recent years, Norwich nightlife has taken a bit of a hit: we lost Lola’s, we lost Hideout and we’re all asking ourselves how Mercy is still going. Despite the crumbling mess that Prince of Wales Road has become, The Waterfront stands strong and provides a metaphorical middle finger to those who say it isn’t classy enough.
It’s an absolute sweaty mess, it’s only acceptable to go on a Friday and the music will always take you by surprise and unsettle you (Taylor Swift one minute, Blink 182 the next, classic). But where else get you get Northern drinks prices in the South, where else is there a smoking area double the size of the club itself, where else embraces early 2000s indie rock to such an extent?
Those who criticise The Waterfront should down their cider (because its so cheap anyway), sing along to Mr Brightside and shut the fuck up. You continue being yourself, Waterfront, and us docile Norwich residents will forever continue our sordid love affair with you.
Winkers, Chalfont St Peter
Yates, Isle of Wight
The Island is about 10 years behind “the mainland,” and many small businesses have tried to crack the niche market for a “club scene,” only to fail within a few months. Not Yates.
Sticky. Grimy. And filled with 18-year-olds or anyone over the age of 35 who’s desperate for an “easy pull.” It reeks of desperation, but has somehow been the only bar (if you can call it that) to ever survive on the Island.
Everyone loathes it, yet casual drinks in Moon-spoons always turns into a night of regret as you find yourself queuing outside the one place you thought you’d never ever go back to after spreading your wings and fleeing to university and discovering what the word really has to offer.
There are actual enjoyable nights out on the mainland. Ones which don’t leave you hating your very existence and questioning why you even bother coming home.
Contributions from Jenna Macfarlane, Georgia Davies, Hannah Tomes, Hannah Dodd, Sam Cooper, Sophie Thomas, Livi Brooks-McLaughlin, Mared Parry, Georgie Darling, Lorna Colwill, Mackenzie Brook, Amy Leete, Beth Robertson, Flo Strachan, Oliver Harry, Lauren Robertson, Laura Callaghan, Yasmin Duggal, Emily Hume, Matt Wing, Hayley Blakelock, Charley Scoggins, Sian Louise, Cathy Cooper, Billy Grant, Katie Weston, Phoebe Oakley, Tom Jenkin, Ellie Rice, Sophie Lindsay, Daisy Bernard, Lucy Woodham, Georgie Hughes, Celina Brar, Bethany Gonoud, Oli Dugmore, Rob Petherick, Alex Palmer, Greg Barradale, Jazmine Sleman, Elliot Lewis, Laura FitzPatrick, Serena Smith, Angelo Errigo, Hayley Blakelock, Poppy Carson, Emily Twynham, Patsie Gorman, Kyle Bessey, Jenny Knowles, Rea Pikula, Grace Vielma, Chris Soulsby, Katie Bushell, Elyshia Lobley, Abby Jacobs, Emily Christian, Sarah Foster, Fiona Willmott, Daisy Harris, Natalie Clark and Hugh Carson
Do you think your hometown club deserves to be in the competition? Email 200 words to [email protected] or tell us why in the comments below and we’ll add it to the list.