Death Of The British Nightclub?

A smoking ban as well as gentrification has led to the closure of many nightclubs and pubs, with a recent report saying that half of UK nightclubs have closed in the past 10 years.


A report from the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, which represents venues, says more than half of UK nightclubs have shuttered in the last decade. It comes at a time when nightlife otherwise seems to be booming, with pubs and college campuses bustling. It also comes at a time when nearby residents have less tolerance for clubgoers and their late-night revelry.

The Guardian ran a lengthy piece looking into the situation, with XOYO club promoter Andy Peyton saying the smoking ban is a major culprit. “It’s mostly the smoking ban, in combination with a far lower tolerance of noise pollution,” Peyton told the Guardian. “One single noise complaint can lead to your licence being in jeopardy. It will never be ignored, however weak that noise complaint might be. The XOYO smoking area is tiny, but there’s really no way to expand it. To have people smoking out front would end the club overnight.”

Clubs such as 93 Feet East in London and The Arches club in Scotland have faced raids and stringent security measures to the point where, according to the Arches, even full compliance led to a limited, midnight license effectively making it impossible to operate successfully.

The clubgoing demographic is also struggling in many ways, with higher unemployment and bigger university expenses. It often makes more sense to forego the all-night raves for a few drinks at the pub or student union, and save up for a summer festival weekend instead. “This year, we’ve had the most festivals ever in the UK,” Rob Casson, a manager at ticketing agency Skiddle and the promoter of Freeze events in Liverpool, told the paper. “People who buy their tickets for those in February or March can’t afford to go out clubbing. If you’re a student, unions put on very good parties which are really cheap. A pub can have a DJ in the corner with decent music and it’s free and people are quite happy with that. The days of going to your usual club are gone.”