Murder on the dancefloor: Local club The Ruby Lounge announces its closure

  • Manchester's beloved venue and club The Ruby Lounge announces its closure 
  • The closure follows a stream of other nighclub closures throughout the city and country 
  • NightLifeMatters launches a campaign to take action against these closures

If there’s one thing the UK is known for its got to be its historical music scene and rich dance heritage culture and Manchester is a city that contributed a lot to this reputation, from bands that left a legacy to acid house raves – there’s nothing its sweaty walls haven’t seen. With such a rich culture to be proud of and to indulge in, anyone would assume it would be improving or at the very least, sticking around. Sadly, this doesn’t appear to be the case with these closures are happening all over the country with alarming statistics suggesting it’s only going to get worse.

This problem stems as far as the eighties, when the UK saw the rise of rebellious pop-punk and early house music, one of the remaining members of Joy Division, Peter Hook founded the Hacienda, party-goers would finish their 9-5’s jobs and go to lose themselves in the smoke and strobes. Unfortunately, the famous hacienda eventually shut down due to drug and gang related incidents.

The loss of the Hacienda is one Manchester is still reeling from, there are many ‘gravestones’ littered around the city dedicated to it, but that was over 30 years ago. Despite our music scene being such a definitive pinnacle of our culture, The UK has recently been taking many huge attacks to its nightlife throughout the country…it appears our way of life is under threat. In January 2017 beloved nightclub franchise Sankey’s pulled down its metal shutters one last time after offering 30 years of hedonistic sanctuary for old school ravers to lose themselves in the smoke and strobes. The reasons being that the building was sold to a properly developer whom planned to turn the area into apartments. 

 It would be nice to say the closures stopped there but they didn’t, as alternative venue Antwerp Mansion had its last party in March with the reasons for its abrupt closure being ambiguity over the original planning permission for the venue. Nevertheless, although these closures are happening, new clubs do pop up too, one of these is the White Hotel in Salford, unfortunately though the White Hotel was issued a suspension notice from the council after the bouncers suffered an unprovoked acid attack for not being allowed into the club.

 More recently however, venue, bar and nightclub The Ruby lounge announced its closure on social media last week, they announced the statement “It has recently been confirmed to us that works are due to begin in 2019. And with that, due to being some way apart in our views, plans and depth of wallets, unfortunately we will be forced into closing the doors for the very last time this Christmas”, the reasons cited were the owners of the building putting plans in place to re construct the entire area, subsequently tearing down the lovely little clubbing institution.

The Ruby Lounge is shutting its doors to the public

And It’s not just Manchester suffering these loses, last year the world famous fabric in London nearly closed down due to a drug related death, Plastic people in London and The arches in Glasgow, too closed down. With each club that closes its doors, I believe we as a country or city experience an immeasurable loss. There is a loss of financial wealth brought in from nightlife to the city, a loss of culture as well as a loss of places to go and socialise, after all we are social beings. With so many venues throughout the country calling it a day, what does the future hold for UK clubs. Well not very much according to The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) showing that UK nightclubs have halved in a decade suggests so: in 2005 there were 3,144 nightclubs in Britain but now this is down to 1,733, which is a staggering statistic.

Due to the nature of The Ruby Lounge’s imminent closure, along with the worrying decline in club culture, I felt it was necessary to hear some opinions from those affected. Terry Johnson, a software engineer 48 from Wigan said “It is sad to see Sankey’s go, they are all just closing one after the other now. I owe some of the best nights of my life to these clubs and it feels like eventually there will be none left, it appears I was the last generation to catch the true tail end of it, what do I think is next for Sankeys? Well I heard there will be one opening in Stoke-on-Trent so at least it’s not too far for me to travel”. Thomas Reilly, 26 a band member from Manchester also said “The Ruby Lounge was one of my favourites, it’s an immeasurable loss to be honest as that was one of Manchester’s own little independent clubs. That was the first place I preformed my first gig at so it’s helped me in a lot of ways, however I wish them all the best in the future”.

So why is this happening? Well it appears the club closures are split between party goers overdosing on drugs and business tycoons winning development rights over the building. So, what does the future hold for UK clubs? Well according to these stats and this pattern of closures, it doesn’t appear very much. The good news is London managed to save the infamous ‘Fabric’ last year with the help of members of the public. We as members of the public are the only people who can revolt against these closures and we must take action to keep our favourite clubs around otherwise, we will be left with nowhere to go and let our hair down.. and all work and no play makes jack a dull boy.

If you’d like to get involved in helping this cause then sign the petition here