Goodnight sweet Lizard Lounge, your spirit will be with us forever
Bristol’s most famous club has undertaken the worst rebrand in history
Earlier this week there were seismic shockwaves felt throughout Bristol and beyond. The tremors were felt across the country and even further afield, with phones humming to the sound of group chats asking what was going on.
Bristol icon Lizard Lounge had become The Lounge. The club, a rite of passage for Bristol’s students and residents, will be reopening soon with “new décor”, but with the name change it feels like the spirit of this legendary club has died forever.
Let’s break this down, piece by piece.
The Lounge. The Lounge. The Looouuuunnnnge. Roll that across your tongue. It doesn’t sound right does it? Considering most people just called it Lounge anyway it’s actually spectacularly impressive how unnatural the new name sounds. The Lounge brings up the picture of a restaurant that you’d go to for your graduation. You know the sort, it’s got a big conservatory and uses flower petals for plate decoration, you took a few photos for the Insta but you’ve never really considered going back.
Every great brand needs a great logo and gone is the famous lizard, replaced with ‘The Lounge’ in a Gatsby-lite, prohibition style. It looks like a caricature of a speakeasy. You can almost feel the mellow jazz drifting across that famous dance floor, through the cigar smoke and the hustle bustle of gangsters and their molls. The dress code has historically been closer to wear some clothing, no matter how little, than it has pin stripe suits, fedora hats and overly shined black and white dress shoes.
Even more pretentious is the addition of ‘Clifton’ under the logo, in an utterly jarring attempt to attach some sort of mirage of class and prestige to a place best known for strawpedoing alcopops and singing Mr. Brightside at the top of your voice.
Lounge was great because it knew what it was, it didn’t pretend to be edgy or upmarket. It was a bit of a dump, there were no airs and graces, no pretence. Just cheap booze, cheesy music and stamps that couldn’t be taken off your hand for days.
It was never the coolest place, it never followed the trends, but that’s exactly why it has lasted as long as it has and been an icon to generations of students. If you wanted great music, you’d go elsewhere but if you just wanted to have a great time with your mates, for not much money, then it was the only place to go. Literally millions of combined hours, when people should have been studying or sleeping, have been lost dancing under that low ceiling or having drunken deep conversations at the back bar.
Lizard Lounge, unlike most clubs, has been part of the fabric of the city for so long that it had developed legends of its own. The famous John Lounge who was the face of the club and, like all historically important figures, is now is remembered on a blue plaque behind the bar. There’s no better embodiment of how much Lizard Lounge is embedded in the city than Walter, the cloakroom maestro. A man who’s been there so long that he’s known for his AC Milan track top – something which wouldn't look out of place in Motion.
Rebrands are common and an important part of a business growing, innovating and moving forward. It’s important to not stop the march of progress because of rose-tinted memories. But this one feels sad and misinformed.
The very essence of what made Lounge special was it was a constant amongst the ever-changing landscape of Bristol nightlife. You sank bottles of VS in Freshers' Week, Fosters after exams, drank a green jug after graduation and lined up a row of toffee vodkas to reminisce whenever you came back to visit Bristol. Many clubs have fallen, but Lizard Lounge was always there, the last bastion of a great night you barely remember.