Worthing nightclubs react to reopening plan: “It will be the roaring 20s again”

The businessmen behind Worthing’s nightclub scene say residents are ‘itching’ for a night out on the dancefloor.

Tuesday, 23rd February 2021, 2:57 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th February 2021, 8:42 am

Daniel Trudgian, operator of Bar Ten, said hearing that nightclubs may be able to reopen as early as June 21 was ‘the best news’.

He said: “We’ve been left in the dark completely, the government hasn’t spoken to us as an industry for the best part of a year, which I think is shocking.

“How many other industries does this industry support?

Bar Ten in Worthing

“Personally I didn’t think it would be that clear. I thought we would be left hanging, but we’ve actually got a goal we can work towards.

“As a business we are very excited to start planning.

“We want to welcome back Worthing, we’ve missed them, it’s been too long and too quiet.”

He said the pandemic had been ‘horrendous’ for nightlife businesses.

Jungle nightclub

“Part of me thought this industry was over. It’s not just a job, it’s a lifestyle, so it’s pretty heart wrenching,” he said, adding; “We still need help from the Government. June is still quite a long way away.”

He believes people in Worthing will be keen to see nightclubs reopen.

“I think people are itching to come out,” he said.

“What we offer as an industry is more than just alcohol.

“A nightclub is a place to make friends, escape reality, fall in love and make memories. We’ve missed out on a year of that.”

Alex Elsden-Smith, one of the owners of Jungle in Chatsworth Road, agreed.

“When it comes to the 21st, it will be the roaring 20’s again – 100 years later,” he said. “There’s not a bone in my body that says people won’t be going out.”

Even friends of his who preferred a quiet evening in a country pub were looking forward to going to a club, he said.

“Everyone seems to be hyped about night clubs,” he said. “I can’t wait, it’s going to be fun.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the energy the staff will give back out again.

“It’s going to bring a lot more groups back together again.”

Jungle opened at the end of January last year for just nine weeks before it was forced to close.

Alex said they had an ‘incredible’ start and were even planning to expand the brand into other towns when the pandemic hit.

Its doors have now been shut for eleven months.

Alex said the council support had been ‘absolutely incredible’. “We’ve been very lucky with grants, just keeping everything going,” he said.

But not all nightlife venues had managed to weather the situation and he said it was sad to hear about a lot of nightclubs having to close down.

The pandemic had also had a big impact on people who work in the business.

“It’s affected hospitality staff in a very big way,” he said. “A lot of people don’t talk about that.

“Some are on furlough...you’re just sat around a lot of the time.”

While the opening date is still quite a while away, Alex was pleased the approach to lifting restrictions was being handled ‘more sensibly’ than last time.

“Personally I think that the longer we stay closed, the more sure and reassured everyone will be,” he said.

“We’ve got to open nightclubs safely for our guests...otherwise it’s going to be a car crash.”