Actually, Bubbles in Ashington is the jewel in the Northern clubbing crown
What do you mean the outside toilets don’t have charm?
To many on the south side of the wall, Ashington in Northumberland is just described as being the sticks.
In short terms, no one usually knows where it is and are usually too polite to say otherwise. But in this mythical land, where no metros run or 4G exists, opens a bar five nights a week. A bar that is the stuff of legends: Bubbles.
In its small four walls and outdoor smoking area are memories. Everyone in Ashington of a legal drinking age can bond over the Bubbles experience. Where else can you go on a night out with your mates and bump into your dad?
This hidden treasure is old school, no question about it. With the lack of card machines, big city visitors are often perplexed with confusion about the mysterious ways of Bubbles. Toilets outside? Mate, we’ve lived that life. The world’s smallest dance floor? Try Sargent Peppers in Newcastle city centre.
Questioning Bubbles is like someone else starting on your sibling, it’s just not on and no one is having it. You’re only allowed to slate it if you go regularly.
After all, everywhere has its charms. As for the 'lack of class' some people say the club possesses, haven’t you heard we have hanging baskets now? Hanging baskets so fine even your gran would be jealous.
In a way, Bubbles is like a rough, northern version of that overly chipper American, but it’s a tad bit louder. You can’t physically swing a cat in there on a weekend without bumping into someone you know or used to know. If your aim is to avoid someone, fundamentally it’s not the place. But it’s that sense of being able to go on a night out, surrounded by people that you know that makes you feel as if, should the worst happen, in Bubbles, you’re in safe hands.
On a serious note, the commemorative murals outside represent the feeling of community within Bubbles and the people who go there. On one side, there is a commemorative painting of a teenager who tragically took his own life in 2016 and the image of him is dedicated to the amazing kid I hear he was.
On the other side, there is a tribute to our great heroes in football, The Charlton’s who played in the 1966 England world cup. These memorials portray just how proud we are and how much the small community cares about its regulars. It provides platforms for bands and has a battle of the bands night to showcase local talent. Bubbles is more than, ‘just a bar’, anyone who speaks about it has a nostalgic tone. It’s a place to go on weekends where you can go out with £20 and still have change for a Toscannas on the way home. It's classic.
For me, I haven’t been home until I’ve been to Bubbles, and I think that is the case for many people who go away for university and come back during breaks or for weekends. There’s something comforting in the sense that you can go away for months and come back to something that is familiar and stable. It's undeniably a place where you go to with your friends, to make friends, to meet friends.
Going to Bubbles is in a sense a rite of passage, it’s got to be done. You spend countless hours of your pre-drinking years speculating what lies beyond those thick black doors and down those narrow steps. Only seeing is believing, so they say. It may be all low beams and dark corners, but to an 18-year-old who, who has pre-empted clumping down those steps in heels to high, it’s an experience. Even now, there really is nothing better than being out with your friends dancing the night away and making bad decisions.
I might not live at home anymore, but Bubbles and Ashington will always have a piece of my heart.