Every reason why Bubbles in Ashington is the worst club in the UK

It’s 2018 and it has outside toilets


Ashington is a town in Northumberland that very few people have heard of. If someone asked you where you were from, you’d probably just say “near Newcastle”.

Ashington’s claim to fame is being the birthplace of Bobby and Jackie Charlton, footballing brothers who won the World Cup with England in 1966, and boasts being the town with the most World Cup winners outside of London. However, its real claim to fame should be having the worst club in the UK – Bubbles.

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You can use the term ‘club’ very loosely to describe Bubbles, in much the same way you can use the term ‘celebrity’ to describe many of the ‘celebrities’ on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here. A very apt analogy, as much of your time in Bubbles will be spent thinking "get me out of here".

Bubbles styles itself as "the original underground bar", which definitely isn’t true, and it’s only underground because it’s on a hill. To get into Bubbles you have to a queue up a hill, making a visit to Bubbles not only mentally draining but physically too.

Inside, the ceiling is so low it’s nearly as low as your apparent standards, and on the beams above your head are lyrics to John Lennon’s "Imagine" and, for some reason, Take That’s "Rule the World", because of course those songs are absolute club anthems.

You may ask why Bubbles is so bad, why it is any worse than other similar small-town clubs across the UK. Well, here is an anecdote:

The first time I planned on going to Bubbles, I spoke to my Mum earlier in the day. She told me she used to go to Bubbles when she was younger, and that when she went it had outside toilets. This was in the 1980s. “It’s the 21st Century, Mother, of course it won’t have outside toilets anymore”, I said. I was wrong.

It’s 2018. Bubbles still has outside toilets.

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Club toilets aren’t known for being the most sanitary of places, a kind of environment even Bear Grylls would struggle to survive in. Take your typical image of club toilets – it’s not a nice image is it? Now transfer that post-apocalyptic vision outside, to a part of England where it rains almost constantly, where it’s cold and windy, where you’re a stone’s throw away from Scotland. This is what you deal with in Bubbles. It’s either incontinence or outside toilets, an impossible choice that no one should have to make in 2018 AD.

To get to the outside toilets you must go through the beer garden/smoking area, which, without beating around the bush, is a yard with some picnic tables in it. The smell of toilets is rife, making Bubbles the only club where the smell is worse outside than it is inside.

It’s very much a local’s club, which in a way is a redeeming factor because local’s clubs are definitely the funniest. But I’m not here to judge the clientele. Except for the man in his mid-fifties wearing a long black trench coat who came up to my friends and told them they should kiss.

At the end of the night, when the reality and shame kick in, you can wade through the simultaneously thin yet excessive police presence and head to Toscana to cleanse your soul with cheesy chips or, if you’re smart, the best chips and curry sauce this country has produced.

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The fact is you could talk for hours about things that have happened in Bubbles, the things you've seen, the people you've met, and nobody would believe you. That's the magic of Bubbles, the worst club in the country. Now don’t get me started on Station Lounge.

The Tab Sheffield

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