In a town with only one club, it’s either go hard or go home in Tunbridge Wells
You’re going to need more than that double vodka coke to survive a night out in this place
Have you ever seen a chino clad 18-year-old vomit up VK onto his own Ted Baker Chelsea boots, while simultaneously caught a glimpse of an underage couple getting it on in the doorway of a Metro Bank? I have, most weekends, and that’s because I live in Tunbridge Wells, where it’s possible to experience all of this and more between the hours of 10:30pm (because it’s free before 11) and 3am Thursday through to Saturday nights.
By day ‘Royal Tunbridge Wells’ is a mecca for so-called ‘women of a certain age’. A plethora of boutique café’s, luxury estate agents and far more Italian restaurants than is probably acceptable, line the cobbled streets. By night, this all changes.
Bump into everyone you know in the Spoons that looks like an opera house
No night out in Tunbridge Wells begins properly without a trip to what is undisputedly the best Wetherspoons in Great Britain. Once you’ve navigated your way inside, past the pair of bouncers who both look suspiciously like Phil Mitchell, you’re in and you’re hit by the comfortingly familiar stench of spilt pitchers and worryingly cheap vodka. This Spoons is unlike any other. Fashioned out of an old opera house, walking in feels like walking into a club when all the lights have come on at the end of the night, except it’s only 10:30, you can’t find your friends because it’s so rammed and nobody is drunk enough yet.
Once your mates have been located, its time to down as many vodka lemonades as possible before the barmaid starts giving you funny looks, all while keeping an eye out for that new guy that’s been brought along by a friend. He probably looks quite posh in his Barbour jacket, with an inexplicable nickname like Saga, but likelihood is, so is everyone else you know.
The best thing about nights out in such a small town is everyone went to one of six schools, and everyone knows everyone. It does, however, make the likelihood of running into a dodgy tinder match (very awkward), locking eyes with someone from across the room that you got with once in Year 9 and haven’t seen since or seeing friends from primary school in the lobby and spending 10 minutes reminiscing and screaming about how they haven’t changed a bit, quite high.
You have to go to MooMoo’s because fusion shut down
Both equally tragic, but only one where you’re likely to get some kind of disease by stepping through the door – seeing as you can’t go in one of them now.
The loss of Fusion to Tunbridge Wells nightlife might well be the greatest tragedy of this generation, no more will the youth of T Wells know the horror of walking into Fusion for the first time, and feeling as if you may have contracted an STD from the floor – which has inevitably stuck to the soles of your shoes – while being hit by a palpable wall of sweat. Since Fusion is no more (and is really just a room above an M&S anyway), MooMoo’s – which sounds like a frozen yoghurt shop – is the only available port of call. With it’s three floors and three themes, you can’t go wrong on a Thursday.
Unless you’re middle aged, needing to put your bag in the cloakroom or looking for a genuinely shite time, nobody stays on the middle floor. The décor is somewhat reminiscent of a sex dungeon (I won’t elaborate but it has purple velvet walls). If you have any sense, the top floor is where it’s at. The DJ is the kind of bloke who (correctly) describes Mr. Brightside as a ‘banger’ and plays it every hour on the hour. Once you’ve been taught how to strawpeedo a VK, and you got so good at it you do it twice, there really seems like no better place in the world to prove to everyone in sight how well you know every single word to Gold Digger.
The smoking area is never a good idea
The trip to the smoking area to ‘cool off’ always seems like a good idea, until you descend into that animalistic pit of carnage, and inevitably end up being offered a cigarette by some guy with an earring and a shirt with a semi-naked woman on, whilst you look on at all your friends pretending to smoke and looking as if they’re having the time of their lives, when really all they can think about is what their mum will do if she can smell smoke on them or if ash gets on their brand new brogues.
You’ll escape to Pitcher n’ Piano and see your old science teacher
In the likely event that MooMoos is fit to burst (because it is the only actual club in the entire town), you will inevitably drag yourself down the road to the apparently multi-purpose Pitcher and Piano, unlike MooMoo’s, the smoking area has chairs and benches and you’re less likely to get a cigarette burn, but it’s also the kind of place with the potential to bump into your old science teacher from back in prep-school, who’s now quit to work in the city and is out blowing off some steam after a long week in IT.
Pitcher has an unavoidable reek of trying just that bit too hard, but once you’ve got a few Jägerbombs down you, and taken a drunken picture outside the women’s toilets, because the sign on the door says ‘Queens’, you’ll be back on the dance floor. After a while you’ll be chatting to a guy who claims to prefer Pitcher to MooMoos, because “it’s just so much less cliché”, and also because (he claims) “I’ve pulled every time I’ve been in here”.
By this point, the night is dying. One of your friends is hiding in the toilets from some guy, another is vomiting outside trying to get it all up to avoid the otherwise inevitable taxi fine, whilst the mum of the group is frantically messaging the group chat trying to find out where everyone is before the taxi gets here to get everyone home, only to be informed that the final member of your crew has gone off with that guy Saga from the start of the night and that “she’ll be fine”.
No time for drunk food (and you wouldn’t trust it anyway), you pile home in the taxi and collapse on the floor of whoevers house has been designated to house you all for the night. You wake up the next morning, wondering if your mate made it home with Saga safely, and ready to do it all again next week.