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UK nightclub closures

An incomplete list of clubs in the UK that shut down in the 2010s

UK nightclub closures

The UK still doesn’t have an answer for how to save its nightlife, with noise complaints, boring people, and luxury flats eating away at its soul

Deep fakes, influencers, viral fashion – we live in a world unrecognisable from the one we stood in ten years ago. As a chaotic decade comes to a close, we're speaking to the people who helped shape the last ten years and analysing the cultural shifts that have defined them. Explore the decade on our interactive timeline here, or head here to check out all our features.

Britain’s nightlife is under threat. It only takes a quick scroll through Twitter for you to stumble across Kickstarters and Crowdfunders, urging you to chip in and help save venues. While sometimes it can be pulled off – the successful Save The Social campaign springs to mind – not every club can be saved, and over the last decade we’ve seen many notable casualties in the battle for nightlife. 

With historic venues such as Madame Jojo’s, The Coronet, and The Arches all having shut their doors, and with the closure and subsequent re-opening of Fabric, it is clear that no venue is too big to be lost. Between 2005 and 2015 it was reported that over 1400 clubs were shut in the UK, and an estimated £200 million was removed from the value of the UK’s nightclub scene between 2013 and 2018. 

The scope of the problem is plain to see, and venues are having to fight on multiple fronts just to survive – battling rising rents, increasingly strict regulations from the police and local authority, and a changing nightlife environment. London has seemingly taken steps to address some of these issues, with the introduction of a Night Czar and The Night Tube. However, with the number of clubs open late enough for customers to benefit from The Night Tube dwindling, and with criticism being levelled at the Night Czar – it’s unclear whether the capital's approach is working, or whether it’s genuine. 

Be it through increased support from local authorities, or through venues adapting to the changing nightlife climate, it’s obvious something needs to change in order to prevent the loss of nightclubs from continuing well into the next decade. The answer is not simple, but change in some form needs to happen. While we mull over a solution, below in an incomplete list of some of the venues we’ve lost over the last ten years, with information on what stands in their place now. Pour one out for our fallen soldiers.

2010

SeOne, London: Located under the arches of London Bridge station, this 3,000 capacity club closed in early 2010 due to decreasing crowds. Despite being briefly replaced by the club Debut London, the venue was eventually repurposed as part of the redevelopment of London Bridge station. 

2013

Evolution/Control, Leeds: After popular student club Evolution closed its doors in 2013, the venue was later reopened under the name Control. However, Control eventually entered liquidation in 2016 and now the site is part of a leisure park complex – which includes a bowling alley, laser tag, and Nando's.

Cable, London: Another club to fall victim to the redevelopment of London Bridge station, Cable was located under the stations arches and forced to close in May 2013. The venue was shut suddenly after Network Rail took possession of the site, forcing the club to make 70 redundancies. In a statement Director Euan Johnston said: “We are totally shocked and devastated that this could have happened. We were assured when we moved in that we would not be affected by the redevelopment and Network Rail have simply changed their minds – the worst thing is there is nothing we can do to prevent it”.

2014

Madame JoJo’s, London:  When legendary Soho nightclub Madame JoJo’s had its licence revoked in 2014, supporters saw it as a thinly veiled attempt by the local council to further gentrify the area. The council cited a violent incident that occurred outside of the club as justification for its decision. Despite countless rumours of a re-opening, the clubs doors remain closed.

The Cockpit, Leeds: After shutting for maintenance work over summer, Leeds venue The Cockpit announced in September 2014 it would indeed be closing for good. Citing problems with the building and a changed industry, a representative for the venue's promoters Futuresound told the BBC that refurbishing The Cockpit “didn't work as a model”. He added saying “We should have done this two years ago.”

Vibe Bar, London: The pioneering bar, which is cited as having helped the transformation of Brick Lane, was closed after 20 years. Its owner blamed the “excessive and unreasonable restrictions” that were being implemented by the council. 

Buffalo bar, London: After having been open more than 14 years, the bar and nightclub was closed after being handed a “very short notice” by new landlords. In its place now stands The Famous Cock Tavern, a craft beer and ales pub. 

2015

Plastic People, London: Having operated for more than 20 years, across two different venues, this seminal London nightclub closed its doors for the final time on January 3rd 2015.  

People's Club, London: The club, which had stood for over 30 years, was forced to close after police were called to the venue on multiple occasions amid complaints by residents of public nuisance. After being shut by a district judge, and despite attempts to re-open the venue, the building remains dormant. 

The Arches, Glasgow: In June 2015 the Scottish multi purpose venue entered administration after losing it’s nightclub license. A midnight curfew was introduced after complaints by police relating to consumption of alcohol and drugs. This loss of licence caused revenue to drop by 50% - which in turn made the business untenable. The Arches was particularly known for its commitment to electronic music, with Daft Punk having made their UK debut at the venue in 1997. The site now plays host to a weekly independent food market. 

The Roadhouse, Manchester: The iconic basement venue, located in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, was closed by owners in June 2015.  The likes of Elbow, Aphex Twin, and The White Stripes had all played The Roadhouse, and the venue also hosted regular club nights. It was initially planned that the site would be turned into a restaurant, however as of yet, nothing has materialised.

Crucifix Lane, London: Located under the same set of railway arches as CableCrucifix Lane shared its neighbours fate when it was closed by Network Rail as part of London Bridge station’s redevelopment. The venue had been open for over 20 years in different incarnations, and played host to many iconic acts including The Chemical Brothers back in 1994.

Power Lunches, London: Between 2011 and 2015 Power Lunches was a central part of East London’s DIY scene. It served as a music venue, rehearsal space, cafe and all round creative hub for the community,  however it was eventually forced to close due to rising business costs. In a statement the venue said: “We all know it has become increasingly difficult to do good stuff in a city that is so focused on making a profit.”

Pleasure Rooms, Liverpool: For over ten years Pleasure Rooms was considered an institution within Liverpool’s nightlife scene. However, the club was closed in 2016, and its building was demolished in order to make way for a new luxury apartment complex. 

2016

Dance Tunnel, London: Another venue to have fallen foul of local authority, the closing of Dance Tunnel was blamed on “the licensing climate in Hackney” in a statement on Facebook. The purpose-built basement club, located under pizza joint Voodoo Rays, had played host to a number of iconic club nights including FWD>>.  

2017

Sankeys, Manchester: While the Sankeys franchise may have nightclubs in other cities, its flagship Manchester location was forced to close in early 2017. Despite having opened and closed numerous times, the club had always been situated in Ancoats, until it was forced to shut it doors once and for all following the sale of its building to developers. Its Beehive Mill home was subsequently converted into luxury flats.

The Good Ship, London: The Kilburn venue was forced to close after the council reviewed its late night licence. The Good Ship had hosted early gigs by acts such as The xx, however since its closure the building has been sold to new owners. Some good news though, the local council rejected an application to demolish the building in June 2018.

Sound Control, Manchester: Another Manchester institution left us in late 2017 when popular venue Sound Control was closed, and eventually demolished, to make way for a high-rise student accommodation.

2018

Venus, Manchester: After nearly 20 years of operation, Manchester’s Venus was forced to close. Owners cited the cities changing nightlife culture, such as bars remaining open later, as having affected business and causing the closure. Since closing the site is now home to a gym. 

The Coronet, London: This Elephant and Castle landmark was originally slated for closure in January 2017, however stayed open an additional year before shutting. After opening as a theatre way back in 1879, and surviving the blitz, who’d have thought that the building would eventually meet its demise at the hands of Southwark Council. On its closure, The Coronet’s director Richard Litmann issued a statement saying: “We have been here for so long, and we will be really sad to go, but with the Elephant & Castle changing so much, so quickly, it’s become clear that the evolving character of the area is no longer right for a venue like ours.”

The Montague Arms, London: Another iconic London venue forced to close, The Montague Arms not only had a cult following among music fans, it was famously frequented by Mark E Smith, Nick Cave and Shane MacGowan back in the day and more recently had hosted gigs by the likes of King Krule, it was an important LGBT space with its weekly club night Passionate Necking. The demise of The Montague Arms began in early 2018 when 8 bar staff were released after management learnt that owners were struggling to keep up with rising rents cost. The venue subsequently closed, cancelling a six month live schedule in the process. It was briefly re-open as a gastropub, which has since also closed.

Antwerp Mansion, Manchester: Located in a Victorian mansion in Rusholme, Antwerp Mansion offered a pretty unique clubbing experience for Manchester students. However, the venue was closed by the council in a row over noise and anti-social behaviour in March 2018.  Despite reopening six months later, with a members only policy and strict 11pm curfew, the venue now operates as a sanitised version of its former self, and is marketed as a “location for photography or filming, for paranormal investigations, and for theatrical productions or art exhibitions.”

2019

Ghost Notes, London: Since 2017 this venue was a focal point for the south London creative community, operating as a bar, club and live music venue. Known for hosting gigs catering towards jazz and improvisation, in addition to hosting parties and club nights, Ghost Notes closed as it was “unable to operate” in its Peckham Levels, a former multi-story car park, home. 

The Cellar, Oxford: Moving away from the capital, The Cellar in Oxford closed its doors in March for the final time because of the cost of rent. In a statement on Facebook manager Tim Hopkins said “After crunching the numbers, a thousand times over, the Hopkins family, who have run the independent music venue, for nearly 40 years, have sadly come to conclusion that they cannot continue”. Before its closure the basement venue had been under threat from different angles, first when plans to turn the venue into shops were proposed and turned down in 2017, and then when the capacity of the club was reduced from 150 to 60 due to fire regulations.

Mint Club, Leeds: After 20 years of operation this Leeds nightclub was forced to close after it was unable to renew or extend its lease. In a statement Mint Club said this was due to the surrounding area “being comprehensively redeveloped”. 

Club 414, Brixton: Despite valiant attempts by the owners to prevent its closure,  Brixton’s Club 414 was forced to shut in May 2019. The venue was subsequently purchased by Hondo Enterprises, owners of Brixton market, and New-York investment managers Angelo Gordon in a joint venture. Club 414 had been open for more than 30 years and also hosted live music events in addition to club nights.

The Birdcage, Manchester: A certain level of mystery still surrounds the closure of Manchester’s The Birdcage. The club, known for its drags acts, cabaret, and midweek student nights, was closed suddenly in May of this year. Having been open for 13 years, and having undergone a £400,000 refurbishment only a few years ago, the reason for it immediate closure is not clear.

Church, Leeds: This popular student nightclub was located in the unique setting of an 18th century former church. However, this year the university informed club operators that the site was needed for a new campus library, and farewell events were hosted in late May. 

Light Glasgow, Glasgow: After six years this Merchant City nightclub closed its doors in order to make way for a “new concept” after being taken over by different management. On it’s closure, the clubs PR rep Reece Donnelly told Glasgow Evening Times “The decision wasn’t easy but with fresh management taking over the venue, I’m sure the new concept will steal the hearts of the Glasgow crowd, as they embark on a huge refurb the city will be excited for what’s next.”

The Borderline, London: Like Madame Jojo’s, The Borderline is another example of a historic Soho club being forced to close its doors. Having been open for more than 30 years, and hosted performances from Oasis, Amy Winehouse and R.E.M., the venue was forced to close due to “increasing rents, rising business rates and ongoing redevelopment plans for Soho”. 

XXL, London: This LGBT Club, which had been operating for 19 years, was given three months to close back in June by developers. XXL, which is thought to be not only the last ‘bear’ club in London but also the last LGBT bar in Southwark, is to make way for a new £1.3bn development. Co-Owner James McNeil told the Guardian he felt that the area was being “socially cleansed of LGBT venues.” In response to concerns developers pledged a dedicated space for a “LGBTQ+ occupier”. The new development will be made up of office space, shops, apartments, and a hotel.