Batchwood is the club you can’t stop going back to, no matter how hard you try

Why is there astroturf in the smoking area?


Picture the scene. There I was, an excited 18 year old glad I actually had an ID, dreaming of my first Batchwood night. The tension was palpable as we queued outside the entrance in the rain, thinking about what we would do if one of us didn’t get in. But as we got through, paid for our tickets and entered into the main dance floor, it felt like I had died and gone to a heaven consisting solely of VKs, tequila and flashing lights.

Fast forward nearly four years: “Batch” as its lovingly referred to has become the bane of my Friday night. Everyone knows that it’ll be a bad night out. Everyone knows you’ll spend way to much money and end up regretting every minute of it. Yet we still all cram into a tiny bus covered in someone else’s drink and make our way to the jewel of St. Albans which holds a special place in all our hearts.

The Batchwood Bus starts you off as you mean to go on

Where do I begin when trying to describe the life altering experience that is Batchwood. It really starts before you even make it to the door. The Batchwood bus is the stuff of legend spoken of up and down the country. Some clubs may have party busses, but this is more of an extension of the club itself, preparing you for what lies ahead. You’ll be crammed into a small bus with what seems to be hundreds of other people and instantly you will be forced to make friends with a bunch of randoms. But, as the bus gets moving, the true fun begins. Almost like clock work, the Tour chant fills the bus. Everyone starts banging the floor, smashing lights and ripping the panels off the top of the bus. Even the most proper of St. Albans residents (which is everyone who lives in St Albans) will start shouting about what they think of Tottenham (shit!) and how much they love Batchwood. After arriving at the destination and jumping out of the fire escape at the back of the bus, because who can be bothered to wait, you will finally be ready for what you are about to experience.

The next step is the queue

The final step on the journey of a lifetime is the queue and it is here you get a sense of the people who usually go to batch. In my opinion, you can split these up into a number of groups. Firstly, there are the new comers. You can spot these people by the following criteria: are the girls wearing way too much make up and massive heals they cant walk in? Are the boys all dressed in white Ralph Lauren shirts with half their hair gel in their hair? And do they all look way too young to be entering the club? If the answer is yes to any of these, you’ve spotted a new comer. Then there’s the majority, those returning from uni who begrudgingly came to Batchwood because there is literally no where else to go (and no, Veeda is not a good alternative). The third group is a peculiar one, those who come to Batchwood way to often for their own good. Usually they seem way to old to be going out on a Friday night to Batchwood of all places, but they also seem to know everyone (including all members of staff) and once inside spend most of their time in the smoking area huddled together in groups (like penguins except they all have a smokers cough).

The main floor

The grand entrance, posh interior and the high level of security would suggest that this is a high class club. This illusion is shattered the moment you stumble past the cloak room and see the true Batch. Groups of guys dancing around girls that clearly aren’t interested, the odd 40 year old who is obviously trying to recapture his glory days and the sea of glasses and drinks that may put even the most veteran of club goers off. Yet, those who truly understand Batchwood dive straight in without hesitation. What is better than dancing while House Every Weekend is played for the fourth time? The answer? Nothing.

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The Loft (also known as the the greatest disco room ever created)

As you weave your way through your fellow drunk club goers up the main stairs, you will be greeted with a door with the words “The Loft” above it. Again, the novice Batchwood attendees may just ignore this, but everyone else knows that this room is the best thing about the whole place. The faint sound of Britney Spears emanates from within, drawing you inside like free VKs were up for grabs. The next thing you know, you’ll be arm in arm with a stranger shouting Cotton Eye Joe as loud as you can. Then, you will all of a sudden know all the words to Avril Lavigne’s classic Girlfriend (even though you’ve definitely never listened to that song before). The disco room is the soul of Batchwood and what truly makes this experience  something you’ll never forget. Sure, it’ll make you cringe so bad you’ll feel embarrassed that your there; but what more could you ask for?

There’s always the fear of what the official club photos will look like

As the night draws to a close and your drunken state quickly changes into a hungry one, you will  come to terms with the fact that you’ve once again wasted your money and evening at batch. Then, you will worry about what pictures are gonna surface in the morning or stories you are gonna be told of what you did the night before. But that is all part of the experience. Nobody enjoys batch publicly, but deep down we all leave happy.

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When describing the worst club in their hometown to their uni mates, everyone will say how awful and cringey a night it is. But it all holds a special place in our hearts and we wouldn’t change any bit of it.