Yates Isle of Wight may be the UK’s most tragic club, but it’s all we’ve got

We hate to love it and love to hate it


Sticky. Grimy. Filled with either 18-year-olds or anyone over the age of 35, desperate for an “easy pull”. Yates may reek of desperation, but today we are proud in the knowledge it has been voted the UK’s most tragic hometown club.

Yates is a rite of passage. When we finished our A level exams, Yates. When you get into Uni, Yates. Leaving ‘do’s, Yates. Halloween, New Year’s Eve, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Yates. We may love to hate it, and hate to love it, but it’s all we’ve got.

This tiny coastal destination is roughly 30 by 26 miles in total, and teeming with young adults crying out for somewhere decent to drink. There used to be the legend that was Lloyds – part of the Wetherspoons chain – which closed down when Moon-spoons reared its head roughly three years ago.

Lloyds offered the one thing Moon-spoons doesn’t provide: music. We don’t care what it is, or how cheesy it sounds, just please, a tuneless night out is just torture. We had Phats and Zanzibar- now replaced by Moda (still alive and kicking, for now) and probably many more which lost their way before I reached the age I could legally acquaint myself with such establishments.

But what are we left with? Yates.

Everyone may say they loathe it, yet ‘one or two drinks’ at Moon-spoons always turns into a night of regret at Yates. You find yourself in that never-ending queue, outside the one place you promised yourself you’d never go back to now you’ve spread your wings at university, where you’ve discovered what the world really has to offer.

I can muster a small number of positive comments: The drinks are pretty cheap, and if you get smashed on a few £6 Spoons pitchers before you go, you can have a good time. You will never fail to meet people you don’t already know whilst out.

Sure, the bar itself may suck, but it has some of the friendliest staff you could ever meet. They’re always smiling, laughing and joking at something. You cannot fault the service when they’re on top form.

Now onto what a typical night at Yates involves. First comes the queue, after 11.30pm, it’ll usually last between 10 and 20 minutes, and as you stand in the cold and rain and partially sober up realising exactly what you’re doing.

You’re now at the point of no return.

When you’ve queued for this long, you have no choice but to wait, begrudgingly pay the £2 entrance fee and receive your ‘tramp stamp of joy’.

Downstairs, you’re met with a sea of bodies attempting to get served, along with all the 35-year-olds lingering awkwardly around by the dance floor (if you can call it a dance floor).

The same mix of songs will always be played: dodgy remixes of the latest hits, a few oldies that never fail to liven up the crowd, and a recent viral chart banger.

The lights will do that weird thing where they change colour out of time with the beat, and you’ll be suffocated by the masses as a Beyoncé track is finally put on.

This will all be topped off by some overly-energetic bastard attempting to show off on the stripper poles.

The ‘VIP Area’ is a joke so you head to the smoking area. Someone will most definitely have smashed a glass or a bottle, there will be a group right at the back, mashing faces and grossly touching each other up.

The middle-aged men will be hitting on the scantily clad dressed girls, who linger about hoping to pinch fags. You’ll see a fight start and finish, and you’ll have had enough of cooling down after about two and a half minutes. And return back into the depths of Yates.

Let’s not forget the toilets: you’ll be greeted by the lovely Moses if you’re in the blokes. Or if you have the misfortune of needing the ladies, you’ll see multiple toilet doors and loo seats missing, with the added bonus of there being no loo roll to be found past midnight. That classy drip dry is the highlight of every girls night out.

Its blaring lights, sticky floors and interesting clientele create an utterly irresistible allure when you’re so far gone you can’t walk straight.

And who can forget your guaranteed trip to Kenny’s? Now that, that’s unmissable. The cheesy chips and greasy burgers are the highlight of any worst night out.

Prepare yourself for the dodgy photos you’ll never be able to live down, like at 2am on Halloween night out.

The whole process will last you anywhere between half an hour and four hours. This is depending on if you’re lucky and have semi-decent friends who’ll attempt to steer you out when it gets to capacity.

It’s fair to say the Isle of Wight is at least ten years behind ‘the mainland’. Many small businesses have tried to crack the niche market for a “club scene”, only to fail rather miserably within a few months. But not Yates. There has to be a reason it has somehow been the only bar (if you can even call it that), to ever have survived on the Island.

But the Island drastically needs someone to listen and to invest in something fantastic. It’s crying out for it. There are actual really enjoyable nights out on the mainland, ones which don’t leave you hating your very existence and questioning why you even bother coming home for the holidays.

Yates should never be the answer, but deep down we all know it is.